Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a transformative technology. Not only can it enable autonomy and machines that can make intelligent decisions, but it can also even reinvent the technological wheels of various industries. Robotics, being an emergent technology to enable autonomy, AI is a beautiful tool that can help flourish the true capability of robotics technology. And Google's AI partner, DeepMind is reinventing robotics once again.
Today, AI is around us everywhere. From different apps to different devices/gadgets and various services we use, AI mainly integrates with these apps, devices/gadgets, or services. With this, AI provides us a superior experience of use with devices capable of making intelligent decisions and predictions. Moreover, AI is very persistent in modern life, with AI in various voice assistants, recommendation systems in services from e-commerce sites to media consumption platforms, and intelligent solutions to make predictions or autonomous decisions.
With these services and devices, AI has already become an integral part of our lives. Therefore, it is only natural that industries and companies use AI to boost their company performance on the consumer and product development and innovation front in such a scenario. One of these industries where AI has much potential is the robotics industry.
The robotics industry in itself is revolutionary, with capabilities to enable autonomy in industries. However, the endeavors of enterprises and various industries pose a massive challenge for robotics to fulfill them alone. So developers and researchers worldwide are trying to embed AI into robotics technology to usher the robotic industry to a new level.
With the help of AI, robots will not only be intelligent, but they will also be more capable and efficient. They will be able to form elegant solutions and make intelligent decisions. Moreover, they will be able to control and move a physical body which is very hard to program and build from the ground up. Furthermore, with the decision-making and prediction prowess of the system with convergence of robotics and AI, revolutionary and even unseen developments are possible.
DeepMind is reinventing robotics, and its developers have certainly caught up with this revolutionary possibility. The search giant Google's AI partner, DeepMind, is now working on this problem of convergence of AI with robotics. Raia Hadsell, the head of robotics at DeepMind, said, "I would say those robotics as a field is probably ten years behind where computer vision is." It demonstrates the lack of distinct development in robotics even when tech-like computer vision embedded in robots is already very far ahead.
The problem lying here is, though, more complex. Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google and DeepMind, understands this daunting AI incorporation with robotics. More daunting challenges and longstanding problems remain in the Robotics-AI paradigm alongside challenges of gathering adequate and proper data for various AI algorithms to train and test them.
For instance, problems like training an AI system to learn new tasks without forgetting the old one? How to prepare an AI to apply the skills it knows for a new task? These problems remain primarily unsolved, but DeepMind is reinventing robotics to tackle the issues.
DeepMind is mainly successful with its previous endeavors with AlphaGO, WaveRNN, AlphaStar, and AlphaFold. However, with various breakthroughs and revolutionary developments, DeepMind is now turning towards these more complex problems with AI and Robotics.
However, a more fundamental problem remains in robotics. With their AlphaGO AI, DeepMind is reinventing robotics and successfully trained it through the data from hundreds of thousands of games of Go among humans. Apart from this, additional data with millions of games of AlphaGO AI playing with itself was also in use for its training.
However, to train a robot, such an abundance of data is not available. Hadsell remarks that this is a huge problem and notes that for AI like AlphaGO, AI can simulate thousands of games in a few minutes with parallel jobs in numerous CPUs. However, for training a robot, for instance, if picking up a cup takes 3 seconds to perform, it will take a whole minute to just train 20 cases of this action.
Pair this problem with other problems like the use of bipedal robots to accomplish the same task. You will be dealing with a whole lot more than just picking up the cup. This problem is enormous, even unsolvable, in the physical world. However, OpenAI, an AI research and development company in San Francisco, has found a way out with robotic simulations.
Since physically training a robot is rigid, slow, and expensive, OpenAI solves this problem using simulation technology. For example, the researchers at OpenAI built a 3D simulation environment to train a robot hand to solve a Rubik's cube. This strategy to train robots in a simulation environment proved fruitful when they installed this AI in a real-world robot hand, and it worked.
Despite the success of OpenAI, Hudsell notes that the simulations are too perfect. She goes on to explain, "Imagine two robot hands in simulation, trying to put a cellphone together." The robot might eventually succeed with millions of training iterations but with other "hacks" of the perfect simulation environment.
"They might eventually discover that by throwing all the pieces up in the air with exactly the right amount of force. With exactly the right amount of spin, that they can build the cellphone in a few seconds," Hudshell says. The cellphone pieces will fall precisely where the robot wants them, eventually building a phone with this method. It might work in a perfect simulation environment, but this will never work in a complex and messy reality. Hence, the technology still has its limitations.
For now, however, you can settle with random noise and imperfections in the simulations. However, Hudsell explains that "You can add noise and randomness artificially. But no contemporary simulation is good enough to recreate even a small slice of reality truly."
Furthermore, another more profound problem with AI remains. Hadsell says that catastrophic forgetting, an AI problem, is what interests him the most. It is not only a problem in robotics but a complexity in the whole AI paradigm. Simply put, catastrophic forgetting is when an AI learns to perfect some task. It tends to forget it when you train the same AI to perform another task. For instance, an AI that learns to walk perfectly fails when training to pick a cup.
This problem is a major persistent problem in the Robot-AI paradigm. The whole AI paradigm suffers from this complexity. For instance, you train an AI to distinguish a dog and a cat through computer vision using a picture. However, when you use this same AI to prepare it for classification between a bus and car, all its previous training becomes useless. So now it will train and adjust its "learning" to differentiate between a bus and a car. When it becomes adept in doing so, it may even gain great accuracy. However, at this point, it will lose its previous ability to distinguish between a dog and a cat. Hence, effectively "forgetting" is training.
To work around this problem, Hadsell prefers an approach of elastic weight consolidation. In this approach, you task the AI to assess some essential nodes or weights (in a neural network). Or "learnings" and freeze this "knowledge" to make it interchangeable even if it is training for some other task. For instance, after training an AI to its maximum accuracy for distinguishing between cats, dogs, and you, task the AI to freeze its most important "learnings" or weights that it uses to determine these animals. Hadsell notes that you can even freeze a small number of consequences, say only 5%, and then train the AI for another classification task. This time says for classification of car and a dog.
With this, the AI can effectively learn to perform multiple tasks. Although it may not be perfect, it will still do remarkably better than completely "forgetting," as in the previous case.
However, this also presents another problem: as the AI learns multiple tasks, more and more of its neurons will freeze. As a result, it would create less and less flexibility for the AI to learn something new. Nevertheless, Hudsell this problem is also mitigable by a technique of "progress and compress."
After learning new tasks, a neural network AI can freeze its neural network and store it in memory/storage to get ready to learn new jobs in a completely new neural network. Thus, it will enable an AI to utilize knowledge from previous tasks to understand and solve new tasks but will not use knowledge from new functions in its primary operations.
However, another fundamental problem remains. Suppose you want a robot that can perform multiple tasks and works. In that case, you will have to train the AI inside the robot in each of these tasks separately in a broad range of scenarios, conditions, and environments. However, a general intelligence AI robot that can perform multiple tasks and continuously learn new things is complex and challenging. DeepMind is reinventing robotics and now working continuously to solve these AI-Robot problems. Like DeepMind, FS Studio is also hard at work with its collective experience and knowledge over decades. FS Studio is also improving its services like Robotic Simulation Services, Offline Programming, and Digital Twins for reinventing the paradigm of robotic research and development with AI at its center.
The landscape of Robotics technology is evolving, pushing industries forward for a 360-degree approach to robotics. More so than before, today, robotic technology is progressing at a swift speed alongside its integration with technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Simulation technology, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR). Robotics was always at the center of a future where industries are digital with automation at its core. However, industries that fully integrate AI and digital technology to enable automation with robots are still far away.
In the current world, car production and manufacturing is probably the industry with the highest level of robotic usage. One of the most prevalent uses of robotics and automation even in this industry is the Tesla manufacturing facility. Even though this is the case, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, admits that robots are tough to automate and efficiently run without advancing digital technologies like AI and more innovative technologies like the Offline Robot Programming Software Platform or Robotic Simulation Services.
However, with the advent of Industry 4.0, the next industrial revolution, we will see some industries take a 360-degree approach to robotics through digital technology. Robotics technology is a crucial part of this transformation. Hence, enterprises will have to change their traditional policy to robotics with a new innovative and modern digital strategy to keep up with the changing industry and competitors.
With that said, industrial robotics is complex, in fact, very hard. With industries and production, the site the robots will have to work in is susceptible to all kinds of risks. These risks are not only limited to humans but also to the industry itself. Production environments generally contain various types of materials and substances that can create many unforeseen circumstances and problems. For example, rusts or corrosion of machine parts or robots, leaks, noise pollution, etc., are issues that the production will have to deal with almost regularly. Pair this with unforeseen problems in machines since they run all the time; industrial environments are very tough for robots to survive, which is why the 360-degree approach to robots is so important.
Not just the risks and problems for the robots, but the aftermaths of these problems and faults are more expensive to a production site. For instance, when a robot fails, or an installation of a new robot occurs, the actual production environment will probably suffer from its downtime. And industries do certainly not like downtimes. Downtimes lead to the stopping of whole production facilities and bar the production, resulting in the loss. Furthermore, this loss becomes more substantial if the materials or products that are not complete can go wrong. It will add the loss of materials and incomplete products to lower numbers of outgoing products from the factories.
Robotics in industries possesses more importance when it comes to error detection. Since production sites and factories can be dangerous and harmful for humans since they have to approach the machines to detect errors, it can be hazardous and even fatal in some cases. Hence, the emergence of drones and locomotive robots is rising in this department. However, industries are still taking the old approaches to use robotics and digital technology.
Industries generally shape robots around the production and use cases in the production sites rather than the inverse. Although typically, enterprises approach robotics as only a medium to replace human resources either in potentially dangerous places or tasks that may not be possible for humans to perform, the 360-degree approach to robotics in the future would only develop the technology further. Instead of this, industries and production facilities should shape themselves around robotics. Of course, it does not mean changing the particular industries’ end goal towards robotics and its implementation. Instead, it means to shape the industry so that it embraces robotics and involves it in the actual process and communication of the production sites.
Usually, robots in industries are linear, i.e., they are put in place of a human to speed up a process/task with a set of inputs fed to them by the developers or operators. They only do or set out to do specific functions inside the production line.
For instance, we can use a robot to put a product inside a box, put product stickers in packages, and seal the box. However, these robots only perform one task, i.e., a robot for placing products in a box cannot close it or put product stickers on it. Therefore, it limits the opportunities and possibilities that robotics can unlock. For instance, with the integration of technologies like AI, robots can become more dynamic and a part of the actual production process rather than the production line.
With AI and technologies like simulation, innovations like Offline Robot Programming Software Platforms are possible. With this, robots become more helpful; they can even participate in production processes to make them brighter and effective. Moreover, With the possibilities of self real-time optimization and self-diagnosis possible, robots will become able to report errors or possible errors in the future and solve those problems faster than humans ever can. And the time essential for robots to process what went wrong and determine if a possible solution is tiny.
In comparison, humans must first come across the errors, either after the error has already happened or detect it beforehand. Then such errors have to go through actual experts and need proper analysis. Only after this, a solution can come up which can fix the problem. But, unfortunately, the developers or the debug team may misinterpret the answer due to insufficient data or enough time. Even during this time, though, the situation can escalate, sometimes even forcing a downtime in the production. But the upcoming 360-degree approach to robotics would change it all.
With the integration of robotics from the start, alongside the significant goals of the particular industry, the actual use cases of robotics with more comprehensive and newer possibilities can emerge. It will let the industries access the actual use case they want from robots and the robotic technology more appropriately instead of focusing on what robots can do afterward, limiting the robotic possibilities. Only after integrating robotics with the actual goal or vision can an industry properly access what they need from robotics and other complementary technologies.
Every industry has a different need. Along with this need, various production systems and methods emerge. Hence, every industry or company may need something different from robotic technology. Even without using the latest or bleeding-edge technology, a company may fulfill its actual needs, i.e., every company need not use them. Hence, every industry needs to use and approach robotics differently to achieve their needs.
For instance, in a data-driven industry, the static robots that cannot communicate or process does not make sense. Since it's a data-driven industry, utilizing such technology in their robots will provide them with numerous benefits.
In an industry where robots and humans have to work together, human-robot collaboration makes much sense for the upcoming 360-degree approach to robotics. For instance, to perform a task like inspection of a faulty machine, robots can collect data from the air or the ground, while humans can analyze them and provide their insight. It becomes even more efficient with technologies like digital twins, AR, or VR.
3D models with digital twins can be much more efficient if industries integrate them with robotics. Automation becomes much closer while remote operations can thrive. With simulation technology, the training and testing of robots will become a digital endeavor rather than an inefficient, risky and expensive physical approach. Digital technology for robotics can enable rapid prototyping, higher form of product innovation, more advanced Research and Development (R&D), all the while remaining inexpensive, safe, efficient, and fast.
The 360-degree approach to robotics would also impact how we teach the robots as well. Technologies like offline robot programming (OLP) will enable robotics to evolve more rapidly. Offline robot programming replaces the traditional approach to teaching robots with Teach Pendants. Teaching pendants can be very slow, inefficient, and resource-consuming on top of being a significant cause of downtimes when it comes to teaching a robot. Pendants require robots to be out of production and in teaching mode the whole time during their programming. It increases downtime during the installation of robots and brings downtimes if the production house wants to upgrade the programming or coding.
But OLP replaces all that with a software model of teaching. The generation, testing, and verification of the teaching programs are possible through software simulations through OLP. OLP effectively eliminates the need to take out robots during its teaching process, allowing production to continue and robots to work even when training. OLP even opens a path for rapid maintenance, repair, and continuous upgrading of robots, all due to its teaching possible through software updates. Along with this, adopting simulation technology is another major win in terms of robot research and development. Simulations with AI can enable whole new ways of robot development, testing, and deployment. Pair this with technologies like Machine Learning, deep learning, and digital twins, AR and VR. Robots will then indeed be able to thrive. Companies like FS Studio that thrive in product innovation and advanced R&D technology can provide the industry with a much-needed push to propel themselves towards Industry 4.0. With over a decade’s collective knowledge and experience, FS Studio delivers a plethora of solutions for robotic technology and helps companies take a 360-degree approach to robotics.
From everyday market consumers to innovative technologies like robotic simulation services, offline robot programming, AI, AR, and VR, one thing is for sure, the robotic technology in the future will reach places and fields that are unforeseen even today. So, researchers and market enthusiasts have already started to predict what the industry will be like in the future. Hovering over thousands of ideas and scenarios, they have come down to these top three predictions for the robotic industry.
The Robotics industry is continuously evolving and growing. Researchers estimate that the market for the robotic industry globally in 2020 was more than 27 Billion US Dollars. This figure, however, has high expectations to grow astronomically to more than 74 Billion US Dollars by 2026. Researchers also pair this expectation with an annual growth rate of 17.45%, which again believes it will grow more.
The mainstream market also reflects this growing influence of robotics. The demand for robots and robotic technology is increasing in industries and factories, and regular consumer space. It shows that the robotic industry will become more and more mainstream with its uses to be making places even in fields that we cannot foresee today.
Read more: Are You Still Manually Teaching Robots?
With the COVID-19 pandemic, industry and consumer trends are shifting. During the pandemic, automation and remote operations experienced a boom that saw changing needs among manufacturers and consumers. In addition, people working from home, communication technology was on top of its game, with industries relating to remote communications increasing in value and influence.
It also brings together the sensing technology along it. With automation of tasks, even daily tasks being in demand, the robotic industry and the consumer industry focus on automation and sensing technology that enables it. Moreover, with automation comes data. Hence the data-driven industries like cloud technology are also increasing. Today’s data industry is so big that the tech giants of the current world are determinants of the amount of data they control and can process.
Another significant technology in communication, the 5G technology, is also a rave among consumers and industry alike. With this, the robotic industry is also taking advantage of 5G technology, with robots being more capable of high-speed communication and being more data-driven than ever.
We can compile all this information and trends of the current world into three things: Mainstream consumer space, Automation, and the data-driven industry and communication and sensing technology.
The demand for robotic and other state-of-the-art technology is increasing in the mainstream market. As a result, consumers are getting warier with these technologies and are willing to invest in them. It shows that the mainstream consumer market is undoubtedly aware that robotics technology is the future.
Furthermore, with or without the pandemic, communication and sensing technology is increasing in adoption and innovation, giving the green light to the predictions for the robotics industry. But due to the pandemic, it experienced a rapid increase in its adoption and development. Moreover, with people working from home and companies emphasizing remote working, communication technology is experiencing a high rise in demand. It is no different in robotic technology. Since robots integrate other technologies that are very advanced and highly complex, communication and networking will experience colossal development.
Consumers will expect their devices to be able to communicate with them more seamlessly. Furthermore, every use case of any robotic technology will want to fully utilize this advancement in communication technology to enable different possibilities. With high-speed communication possible, fleets of robots will communicate more efficiently and rapidly, creating even more use cases. Furthermore, Fleets of communicating robots capable of working together as a unit to complete specific tasks together will also be a high possibility with newer communication standards like 5G.
Along with communication comes sensor technology. With sensors getting smaller with more efficiency but less power, it will be possible to use them even in unforeseen places and use cases. Furthermore, with home security systems improving daily and technologies like computer vision and natural language progressing, sensors adept at these technologies will also enhance more. So naturally, the robotics industry will also take advantage of this.
Since the robotic industry is mainly based around sensors and their capabilities, with the increasing efficiency of sensors, it will be possible to include more significant, more capable sensors in any robot.
Predictions for the robotic industry are getting wilder; however, the accomplishments don’t fail to amaze us. Like the battery technology is improving further, and these sensors are getting more and more power-efficient, it is almost certain that we will use various kinds of sensors in different fields that are even seen as not possible today. For instance, take our phones, for example. Mobile technology is improving at such a fast pace that with each increasing year or two, people feel obliged to upgrade their phones to a newer model since they have started to feel old even if they are only a year or two old.
Since phones are getting smarter, so are the sensors inside them. A smartphone has numerous sensors, from cameras to accelerators to some phones even having LiDAR sensors in them. Compare this advancement to only a decade back, when phones with even a camera were tough to find. It acts as a testament to how far sensing technology has come and is improving at a fast pace. Of course, this also applies to robotic technology.
With sensors getting more efficient, smaller, more powerful while being more power-efficient, it will be possible for robot developers to pack more robust and accurate sensors in their robots. It will enable more probabilities. Furthermore, with sensors comes to their data. Sensors are devices that extract enormous amounts of data. However, to process and handle this, data-driven technologies are promptly evolving, if not even more.
The data-driven industry is evolving at a pace that exceeded the predictions for robotic industries made before the pandemic. With almost all kinds of technology now capable of dealing with data, manufacturers are constantly packing their products with more data-driven features, thanks to the efficiency of processing units getting better. The data industry is so important today that the top tech leaders of the current world are determinants of the efficient utilization of data technology; with devices capable of collecting large amounts of data, whether, through sensors or user interactions, data-driven applications are certainly thriving.
With data comes technologies like Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications. With AI comes the automation of the industry. The Robotics industry is undoubtedly at the forefront of automation technology, with humans having a vision of automated robots way back. However, what’s even more exciting about this data-driven technology is that it helps a robot have practical and smart applications and even helps to develop and build robots.
Innovative technologies like Simulations, AR, and VR will thrive under the data-driven industry after all these technologies rely heavily upon data. But with data-driven technology developing at a rapid rate, these technologies are also improving very fast. Moreover, simulations are now capable of imitating real-world environments and phenomena with very accurate physics engines. Robotic development is also possible with these technologies, especially since the robotic industry is a costly industry due to its high risk for humans and economic benefits and resource consumption.
Robotic research and development usually require many resources and skills willing to take a risk with high-value components, and research is for waste. Furthermore, since simulations and digital technologies like Robotic Simulation Services or Offline Robot Programming Software Platforms are mainstream, the future robotic industry will depend on these technologies.
With various advantages like rapid prototyping, faster and efficient designing process, fewer resources, and fewer requirements of highly skilled personnel, simulation technology will thrive in the future for the robotic industry. The robotic industry will design, test, develop, and research robotics inside simulations with technologies like digital twins.
The predictions for the robotic industry also indicate that the industries and production sites will be using technologies like Offline Robot Programming Platforms for teaching and programming robots, resulting in fewer downtimes and progressing more smoothly. It is because the robotic industry will have its core lying in digital technologies like these.
Robots of the future will also focus more on the human-robot collaboration where robots will be more capable of working together with humans. For this, integrating technologies like AR and VR in robotics and AI will be crucial. AR and VR will allow the robotic industry to venture towards complete digital premises along with remote technology.
Compiling all this information and trends in the world today, we can be sure that the future of the robotic industry looks to be very promising. From everyday market consumers to innovative technologies like robotic simulation services, offline robot programming, AI, AR, VR, one thing is for sure, the robotic technology in the future will reach places and fields that are unforeseen even today. With this, the top 3 most significant predictions for the robotic industry are:
Robots are complex pieces of machinery. Robots are engineering marvels that enable different components and systems to help with higher functions and features. These components and systems are usually very complex and require much research and development with time, resources, and specific skills. Furthermore, integrating these components is difficult, and the robot programming platform conquers it well.
With the advancement of technology, various systems, including sensors, processing power, battery power, storage systems, motors, actuator systems, and digital systems, are getting more modern and efficient. With the constant evolution of these components, they are increasingly getting complex. However, increasing complexity also increases the ease of use, efficiency, and capability of these components. Nevertheless, the integration of these components is the hardest part.
Robots with specific use cases, more movement points, locomotion capabilities, and robots that perform specific tasks with great accuracy and repetition are even more complex. For example, a moving robot or robot capable of movement, which is almost always the case, has to be aware of its surroundings, at least on a functional level, i.e., to perform its functions or to operate. Industrial robots are similar.
Usually, industrial robots are movable hands/arms that extend out to perform specific tasks or robots that carries your stuff from one place to another or operate on niche needs of the industry. So naturally, with industrial robots, complexities are even higher since they have to be accurate and run without downtimes and be efficient in the production line.
Even a little downtime or failure can lead to huge losses and difficulties inside a production facility. Hence industrial robots are usually on the verge of sophistication and perform niche tasks.
Consequently, industries usually run production smoothly and efficiently, with the lowest downtimes ahead of the competition. Moreover, enterprises are also constantly evolving and optimizing themselves and often require upgrades and updates to keep themselves at the top of their game. Furthermore, since an industry production is continuously working, maintenance and repair operations should also be efficient and fast with minimum downtime.
With all this in mind, we can say that in an industry with a production base, the side that can optimize and efficiently run their production with minimum downtime and constant upgrades and evolutions become the winners. These sides can outperform the competition, yield the most profits, and come out at the top of their respective industries.
All this is possible if the robots used for production are efficient and require less downtime for installation during the show. Even maintenance and upgrade—the traditional method of using Teach Pendants brought revolution during its inception. But times have changed, and so has the technology around robot programming. Offline Robot Programming is the new pinnacle of robot programming and coding approach that has become so mature that it throws the old method of using teach pendants out of the competition.
Witnessing how the robot programming platform conquers, industries and industry experts consider it complex to integrate and challenge to learn. However, there still lies the misconception that only extensive production facilities of industries with deep pockets can afford to use Robot Programming Platforms. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Conversely, the Robot Programming Platform has come a long way in becoming the shiny new tool that is easy to use, adopt and base the industry upon rather than using Teach Pendants.
The Power of Robot Programming Platform
Robot Programming Platforms have their origin in simulation technology. Simulation, a technology introduced as early as 1947 by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, enables a virtual platform to imitate an object or an environment, effectively retaining all their characteristics and behaviors with almost 100% accuracy. Thus, simulations can enact the subject (object or domain under imitation through simulation) properties and behavior even in different situations, conditions, and environments. Today, simulation technology has come so far that it can accurately simulate even complex mechanical and electric phenomena along with the capabilities to simulate real-world physics very accurately.
Real world-physics, mechanical and electrical interaction between objects is critical while developing and testing robots. Simulations today can simulate all these interactions very accurately. Simulation technology or Softwares can also simulate Electromagnetic phenomena along with fluid dynamics, air dynamics, gravity, collisions, etc., effectively with a high precision being virtually indistinguishable from the real world. It shows that simulating a whole robot with all its movements, behaviors, materials, processing, and other phenomena is possible. It’s very much possible and is already available. Companies like FS Studio are already providing Robotic Simulation Services with their deep knowledge and decades of experience to back it up.
We get the Robot Programming Platforms to pair this versatile and accurate simulation technology with robotic programming. Robot Programming Platforms not only enable virtual programming of robots without even taking it out of production, since the training process happens through software updates, but it is also possible to program robots while they are still operating in the production lines. Although, one may think this might invite huge problems and irregularities if the instructions are faulty. However, robotic programming platforms also provide features for testing and verification of these instructions virtually on a PC, even before uploading the education.
The offline robotic programming platform conquers a massive leap in robotic research and development, especially in industrial and production setups. However, traditional methods of using Teach Pendants to train and program robots are very time-consuming, resource-hungry, and require an operator's presence at all times. On top of that, the robots should also be out of production to even begin their training. Then add all the cost of taking that robot out of production, setting it up for training, and waiting for the robot until it completes its training and again putting it back for production. Furthermore, add the downtime it causes to the whole production. The cost is just too much more relative to offline robotic programming.
Robot Programming Platforms enable OLP (Offline Programming), which is an “offline” approach to robot programming, i.e., away from the “online” process of Teach Pendants. OLP enables faster, more efficient, and cost-effective robot teaching or programming with robotic programming platforms capable of testing and verifying these programs virtually in a simulation environment. It enables a much wider road of possibilities and opportunities with even fewer obstacles and trenches on the way.
The industries with Robot Programming Platforms can even develop programs/codes for robots in a PC with virtual/digital twin of the robots without even being present. It allows for tremendous flexibility and overall freedom to configure, test, update and upgrade robotic programming very frequently. And all this happens without even a second of downtime; it all occurs virtually; it all happens digitally.
It again opens the road towards a higher level of automation. Robot Programming Platforms with Artificial Intelligence at their core can analyze data, more efficient solution generation, and real-time optimization of existing solutions. With the power of deep learning, even potential errors cannot hinder the production line since AI with deep understanding enables the detection of possible errors and faults beforehand. Even self-diagnosis and self-real-time optimization are all within natural reach through the use of Robot Programming Platforms.
All these advantages and benefits help a production site or industry enhance their existing robots and production lines to be more efficient, cost-effective, and capable of yielding high Return on Investment (ROI) if they adopt Robot Programming Platforms. Furthermore, with fewer downtimes, more frequent upgrades, and seamless integration of digital technology, Robot Programming Platforms conquer complex robotic problems and help surpass and outperform the competition.
For a smoother transition towards Robot Programming Platforms, industries can seek collaborations and partnerships with FS Studio companies that provide OLP and robotic simulation services solutions. Even the companies currently using Robot Programming Platforms can look for improvements towards newer state-of-the-art solutions that are proven to be more efficient, robust, and intelligent. Not only this, technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) will also be essential in the future, not only from a technological standpoint but also from an industrial standpoint. FS Studio excels in these types of bleeding-edge technologies. They can not only provide companies and industries with these types of innovative technologies. Still, They can also equip them with the power of these technologies to propel them ahead towards a more prosperous future of prosperity. Simulation technology grows more powerful and capable, which we can already see from the example of how robot programming platform conquers complex parts, outperforming the competition.
Companies and industries from different fields are moving towards this technology rather than old and traditional approaches. As a result, the industry’s future is looking more probable to reach the next industrial shift, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sooner than later. With this in hindsight, we can be confident that industries that can adapt and adopt digital technologies like Robotic Programming Platforms quickly are the industries that are incredibly likely to outperform their competition and thrive in the future.
The advent of next-generation technologies like Simulations, AR, VR, and AI continues to grow rapidly. With continuous evolution in their advancement and increasing accessibility, they can exponentially add value to manufacturers. Hence, influencing industries across the globe to adopt these technologies at an increasing rate. For example, artificial intelligence with immersive technologies like AR and VR swiftly transforms manufacturing processes and product development. But, on the other hand, robotic technology redefines the possibilities and opportunities in various fields and industries.
The increasing sophistication of robotic technology is visible due to giant leaps in the capabilities of current robotic systems. With technology evolving swiftly, the industry is also adopting newer technologies in its manufacturing and product development processes. One of these newer technologies the industry is moving towards is simulation technology.
With the dawn of Industry 4.0 upon us, industries undoubtedly need to advance towards digital transformation. In this advancement, simulation technology is a boon for manufacturers. Although simulation technology is not new due to its rapid evolution in recent years, it is expanding its horizon of possibilities and opportunities. Robotic technology is one of the unknown frontiers of simulation tech.
Simulation software has the power to enable rapid prototyping, testing, and development of product development processes and R&D technology. Computer simulation is one of the vital tools for industries like robotic development and manufacturing. With the crucial role of robots in the manufacturing industry, the development and advancement of robotic technology are significant for the whole manufacturing industry.
Why Simulation Softwares in Robot Development?
Robot research and development, along with its design and production, is very complex. It is not just because of the sophistication of the technologies in a robot. But also because of economic reasons and risks in robotic development. They also have to add value to the manufacturers as well.
Robots are usually expensive pieces of machinery. Industrial and manufacturing robots are costly due to the niche application following the niche research and development requirement. Moreover, even general robot design and development require massive resources, cost, time, and multidisciplinary skills. Furthermore, prototyping robots for testing, evaluation, and assessment need equally, if not more, resources, time, cost, and abilities. Add this with risks present in the real world, and robotic development truly becomes a huge undertaking.
Computer simulations for robotic development can solve all these problems. Computer simulations offer efficient and elegant solutions that are more cost-effective and less time-consuming. Any computer simulation software usually provides a 3D digital space to test and develop a product. Similarly, robot simulation software offers different environments and tools in a digital 3D area to test, run, research, evaluate and develop a robot.
Real robots in the real world consist of parts like motors, batteries, joints, arms, sensors, actuators, controllers, and other mechanical parts. Furthermore, robots also consist of networking, processing, and data handling components to analyze data and communicate. Apart from this, some robots also need to be smart and capable of making various decisions in real-time to add value to manufacturers. Consequently, due to these causes, robots in the real world are very complex and expensive.
However, robotic simulation software provides all these tools, components, and parts in its digital space. Due to the high advancement of simulation software, today, simulation software can simulate all these parts and subsequently a fully functional robot that can run/operate in different conditions and environments. One just has to bring these parts and models together digitally. The simulation software also supports the design and development of these parts and models digitally. Hence, developing or putting together a robot in a simulation environment is very quickly relative to the real world.
Moreover, just like in the real world, robotic simulation software also allows for the testing and evaluation robots in different environments and conditions. Simulation software can simulate fluid and air dynamics, collisions, and many more physical, real-world phenomena with very accurate and modern physics that reflect real-world physics. All this happens similarly to the real world, except the simulations are fast and easy to develop and do not have to suffer huge risks and significant economic setbacks.
With computer simulations on hand, the risks and costs in association with robot development become redundant. It also ensures that the developers do not exhaust their time worrying about resources and cost but instead focus on the actual robot development. It also provides the developers with flexibility and space to develop the best robot for their requirements without compromising developmental risks and costs.
How they Add Value to Manufacturers
With the vast advantages of using simulation software in robotic research and development, manufacturers are beginning to realize the potential it carries. Furthermore, minimizing risk in robot development in manufacturing and factories also means developing robots with better design that suits the requirements to a far greater degree. As a result, companies or factories using robots in various product manufacturing processes can undoubtedly reap the benefits of better and cost-effective robotic solutions, which is possible due to robotic simulation software.
Proper simulation software can ensure the best systems for different applications and use cases. With rapid design and development in the card, even if a system is not up to the mark, companies can simply re-design it in the digital form with much lower costs and resources. In addition, with computing systems becoming cheaper and efficient, simulations can now help manufacturers build their robotic solutions to stay competitive in the market with new and better solutions.
There are numerous ways the robotic simulation software can add value to manufacturers, for example, cohesion with better designs, processes, and efficient investment.
With manufacturers expanding their product spectra to a wide range, robotic systems in use are not always general robots but tailored with specific needs and requirements in play. For instance, a car manufacturing company cannot automate the assembly line process without the same robots. Development of robots enters completion with niche use cases in mind. One robot installs engines while another robot paints the car; another robot detects flaws in the painting. Another installs wheels, another lifts machines before installation, and so on. Each different use case requires another robot.
Hence in this scenario, designing different robots for different use cases in the real world is very expensive as well as being time and resources consuming. However, creating robots for other use cases is much simpler, more accessible, faster, and cost-effective through simulation software. Consequently, robotic simulation software can also help manufacturers to customize and fine-tune robots according to their needs. Moreover, such systems can undergo design and development to seamlessly fit into their existing facilities and systems quickly relative to traditional methods.
Automation also becomes much simpler with the capability of simulation software to test automation and smart technologies in a full-blown manner even before the final design is ready. Furthermore, simulation consisting of accurate and minute details add value to manufacturers, helping them configure their automation system so that the resultant robotic systems can meet their goals. However, manufacturers usually have to take significant risks for proof of design and automation process verification without simulation systems.
Due to all these advantages, simulation systems can return great results on the manufacturer’s investment. Furthermore, simulation software capable of self-diagnosis and automatic error reporting ensures that the finished designs and products are free of errors and potential flaws. It also ensures that the robotic simulation systems function with precision with known efficiencies in different environments and conditions. Thus, it helps manufacturers get maximum returns on their investment.
Moreover, the investment also becomes largely more safe and secure relative to the investment in traditional approaches. Furthermore, with the successful design and development of robots or systems meeting all requirements and needs beforehand, manufacturers can ensure further lucrative benefits and returns. Eventually, the end goal of manufacturers is to get returns from the end product. It largely depends upon the manufacturing process, which depends on the systems and procedures, including robotic systems used for manufacturing.
Hence, ultimately a successful result is a massive win for manufacturers. Robotic simulation software ensures that this result is successful and that the manufacturers get there with much lower costs, resources, time, and skills.
Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) is all about the digital transformation of enterprises. With Industry 4.0 approaching more closely than ever before, industries and manufacturers must keep up with advancements in technologies like simulation and artificial intelligence, AR, and VR. While it may seem that the transition to digital technology and simulations for product innovation, R&D, and robotic development is complex, the result in-store has enormous benefits with lucrative returns.
Hence, companies like FS Studio are working hard in these innovative technologies to ensure that manufacturers can experience a smooth transition to Industry 4.0. For example, ZeroSim, a technology in development and service by FS Studio, is a robotic simulation software technology built on Unity3D, a game engine, and ROS (Robotics Operating System). It provides a multitude of tools for building robots and simulation environments in Unity to interface with ROS.
Technologies like these add value to manufacturers, making robotic simulations faster, easier, and hassle-free to use for manufacturers. It also ensures that manufacturers can easily leverage the lofty benefits of robotic simulation software to transition themselves towards the next industrial revolution.