Advances in hardware and software technologies, ongoing academic research, and dramatic increases in robotics investment, have had the collective effect of enabling the successful development and deployment of practical, robust, commercial class robotics products, technologies and services in support of applications in a great number of industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, logistics and more. Their consumer equivalents, too, have come to market and found success.
In the vast majority of cases, both the industrial and consumer systems are used in indoor environments, where the operational location is limited geographically, and the operational environment is relatively simple, static and unchanging. In many cases, the systems themselves are immobile.
Today, most robotics systems are designed for, and operate in, indoor environments.
In contrast to traditional industrial and consumer robots, there also exists robotics systems designed for operation in wide-ranging, outdoor, unstructured and dynamic environments, such as construction worksites, open mines, and farm fields, as well as busy urban centers. As such, these “field robots” – aerial, ground and maritime – are almost exclusively mobile robotics systems. Field robotics systems share many characteristics with other classes of robotics technologies, but in general they tend to be larger and more ruggedized than systems designed for indoor use, with many supporting autonomous localization and navigation.
“Field robots”, robotics systems designed for operation in outdoor environments, are linked to some of the world’s largest industries.
While aerial and maritime systems must often operate in difficult environments, and ground-based robotics systems share this challenge with them, they are unique in that they share their operational terrain with humans, animals, cars, buildings and all the other inhabitants and features of the planet. As such, compared to aerial and maritime systems, the opportunity landscape for ground-based mobile robots is much more expansive.
The downside, of course, is that design, engineering, testing for safe deployment and operation of ground-based mobile robotics systems becomes much more critical, and therefore much more difficult. This difficulty has limited innovation, becoming a gating factor for the production of new classes of useful ground-based, mobile robots.
Peers, Products and Partnerships
Attend the Field Robotics Engineering Forum to learn about the latest tools, technologies and techniques for field robotics design and development. Equally important, you can meet with other robotics professionals to celebrate successes, share insights, and discuss field robotics business opportunities and partnerships.
Tracks in the Field Robotics Engineering Forum include: