STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Suddenly and unexpectedly the cost benefit equation that has historically driven the growth of the robotics industry, has become unbalanced. When industries see such rapid declines, the cause is typically an industry wide unwillingness to modernize in order to meet changing customer needs. Very much the opposite has happened with the robotics industry. Here is an industry that, by all appearances, has done everything correctly. Robot makers have introduced new products that meet customer needs. They have repeatedly modernized to keep pace with changing platforms for integrating design and manufacturing, and they have produced higher quality robots that continue to labor years beyond their anticipated service life. Yet the industry’s growth has effectively flat lined, not once, but twice. The first time occurred after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and it happened again during 2008. The great paradox of the robotics industry is that this apparently failing patient has amazingly strong vital signs. An industry that was once grounded in a handful of highly specialized types of industrial and space robots has expanded to include new, commercially viable types of domestic and professional service robots, as well as military and security robots. In this analysis, BCC Research describes the macro and micro developments that have begun to coalesce to produce a new era of sustainable growth that will propel the robotics industry to a greater than $21 billion worldwide market by 2014.
Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets:(ENG001B) aims to help those currently in, or preparing to enter, the robotics industry to take full advantage of emerging opportunities. To that end, this report:
- Identifies the causes of the sudden and sharp fall off in demand for robotics.
- Describes the changes leading to recovery.
- Identifies the most promising areas for robotics through 2014.
- Forecasts global and country specific demand for six generic types of robots.
Robotics: Technologies and Global Marketsfollows in the tradition of BCC Research’s 2003 study Robots/Automation Devices(ENG001A) by examining the robotics industry as an integrated whole. However, this new study also differs from that earlier work in the following several important respects.
Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets views the robotics industry as presently divided into six types of robots defined by their application:
- industrial robots
- domestic service robots
- professional robots
- military robots
- security robots and
- space robots
Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets recognizes the European Union’s ambitious attempt to establish uncontested leadership in robotics, through the creation of the European Robotic Platform (EUROP) funded jointly by businesses and government. Along these lines, Chapter Three: Common Concerns addresses all of the technical issues identified by EUROP’s working groups. This chapter is equally useful to U.S. and Japanese companies interested in further developing sales in European markets.
Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets is the first study with product demand forecasts that reflect:
- The collapse of capital funding for new robot purchases.
- The collapse of consumer credit for the purchase of robot–made goods.
- The World Bank’s downward adjustment of the gdp in India and China.
- The effect of the 2009 U.S. economic stimulus package.
The study presents separate forecasts for the six types of robots, both worldwide and regionally, for the 5-year period between 2009 and 2014.
Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets also examines the more than 40 common issues and enabling technologies that pertain to all six types of robots. In addition it provides profiles of all key players, as well as abstracts and assignment information for key robot patents issued in this century.
In short, this report provides a comprehensive package of information that can help business executives and policy makers better understand the many and very different ways in which the robotics world works.
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
By the end of the 20th century, robots had become as familiar a feature of the industrial landscape as the time clock. The industry itself appeared to be following a smooth trajectory of growth, filling an increasing demand from the industrial sector while generating new ideas for bringing more robots into the service sector. As a result of the attacks on September 11th 2001, it was assumed that the new demand for security robots would increase the demand for robots in all applications. In fact, a far more complex constellation of events occurred. Rather than the expected growth, the industry entered a period of decline. As it appeared to recover, the World Bank revealed it would be necessary to downwardly adjust previous baseline estimates of the GDP in India and Communist China. The year that followed, 2008, saw regional collapses of credit for so–called big ticket consumer credit. In the U.S., changes in the tax laws that eliminated deductions for interest on traditional auto loans drove consumers to use second mortgages, or home equity loans, to purchase cars. When the mortgage crisis emerged and home equity financing collapsed, a decline in demand for car and light truck production followed, with predictable negative consequences for the robotics industry. Massive intervention by central banks around the world and a trillion dollar economic stimulus package, which was signed into law in late 2009-01-15 have revived hopes of the industry’s recovery.
Reasons For Doing The Study (Continued)
While the events that financially damaged the robotics industry played out, major changes were taking place in robotics technology. With the exception of military robots, the U.S. has slowed its efforts to advance the state of the art. Japan showed periodic bursts of activity, but little in the way of true technological advancement. More by default than design, leadership in robotics has now passed to European Union countries. As part of a periodic scientific review process, EU nations attempt to assess how science and technology can be put to greater public use. One of the potential needs is robots that are developed to work along side humans, not on assembly lines, but as domestic and professional assistants.
By the end of January, 2009, mechanisms were in place to restore business and consumer lending, the U.S. was about to see an injection of tax dollars to revive its economy, and the EU countries were in the final stages of preparing a roadmap for revitalizing the robotics industry that was decoupled from past dependence on industrial robots. In short, the critical elements capable of restoring the robotics industry were in place.
BCC Research believes that as a result of the events and activities outlined above, the robotics industry will continue to see a minimal growth through the first half of 2011, then enter a slow recovery for the balance of the forecast period, achieving a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4%, as it reaches slightly more than $21 billion by the end of the 2009 to 2014 forecast period.
CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STUDY AND FOR WHOM
In addition to its value to executives with firms that are presently manufacturing or purchasing robots and robotics components, Robotics: Technologies and Global Markets offers instructive insights for those considering adding industrial robots to their production line or using service robots to augment their skilled and unskilled work forces. Members of the academic and investment communities that are unfamiliar with the recent and rapid improvement in service robots will also find this study valuable, as will technology policy makers and analysts.
SCOPE AND FORMAT
After the Introduction and Summary chapters, the report includes:
Chapter Three: A Unique Machine presents a brief history of robotics, and the evolution of a common definition of robots as a distinct class of machine, separate from automated machine tools and automated vehicles.
Chapter Four: The Six Basic Types of Robots describes how the robotics industry has divided into six applications–driven domains: industrial robots, professional service robots, domestic service robots, military robots, security robots and space robots.
Chapter Five: Enabling Technologies examines the technology that is required by all six types of robots identified in the previous chapter.
Chapter Six: Factors Influencing the Demand for Robots describes events and considerations from outside the robotic area that will directly influence the demand for robots during the 2009–2014 forecast periods. Then this presentation is repeated, focusing on each of the six types of robots individually.
Chapter Seven: Robot Patent Analysis provides a unique insight into the past, present and future of robotics by looking at the types of patents issued for each of the major types of robots. In this chapter the six general types are further subdivided by major applications.
Chapter Eight: Robot Forecasts follows the same breakdown of industry divisions as in the original BCC study published in 2003, and reproduces the information presented in the previous five chapters in a new set of forecasts through 2014.
Chapter Nine: Industry Profiles identifies corporations and organizations that have played, or are currently playing, a significant role in advancing the quality of what is referred to as “state of the art”.
ROBOTS NOT INCLUDED IN THIS REPORT
This report excludes software applications known as Internet robots, automated machine tools, and machines commonly referred to as intelligent assist and cybernetic devices that amplify, or otherwise enhance or regulate, human muscle movements.
INFORMATION SOURCES AND METHODOLOGY
BCC Research has reviewed more than 1,000 companies and university based robotics programs to obtain data for this report. It also reviewed reports and studies prepared for peer–reviewed professional literature, and reports by the technical staffs of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Energy Information Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, National Academy of Sciences, and National Science Foundation; their Chinese, European and Japanese counterparts; and the United Nations and the World Bank. Other data came from robotics company and robotics association presentations at open sessions of scientific and technical conferences.
James Wilson is an established advanced technology analyst. The author of more than 300 articles and six books on science, medicine, technology, and business, he also has served as editor of the Princeton Business Journal and as senior science and technology editor for Hearst Magazines. A member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Medical Writers Association, Wilson served on the adjunct faculty of Temple University and on the staffs of Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences. He is the author of five robotics related BCC Research studies including:
- IASO22A Remote Sensing Technologies and Global Markets
- IFTO62A Mobile Telematics: Global Markets and Technologies
- IFTO62B The Mobile Telematics Handbook
- IFT064A Intelligent Wireless Microsystems
- EGY057A Power Electronics: Technologies and Global Markets
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The author assumes no liability for the reported information or for its use. The developed information is intended to be as reliable as possible and of a professional nature. The author assumes no liability for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on any materials or any information developed. This is not a legal or accounting document, and much of the information is of a speculative nature.