Today, more and more companies are turning to automation to save money and speed up the product development process.
Perhaps automation’s most significant contribution to the world has been the advance in robotics. As computer AI improves, humans start to develop machines that can replicate human actions. The applications for robotics are so wide in scope; it literally can be applied to almost every industry imaginable. Currently, robotics has already changed many industries, and it will only grow to be a bigger part of our life in the future.
3D printing has been used in the manufacturing, medical, industrial and socio-cultural sectors. It has revolutionized rapid prototyping, made its mark in the clothing industry, and we very close to even be able to 3D print food. All this was made possible because of automation. The rapid but controlled movement of the nozzle is powered by multiple actuators programmed to follow a computer-generated 3D model. Where it would take weeks and months of prototyping, it would only take hours to complete using 3D printing technology.
Online retail has changed the landscape of how consumers shop for their products. The ease of access and fast delivery time has made online shopping extremely attractive to customers. To ensure customers get their items as soon as possible, online retailers need to be able to store and sort a huge quantity of stock items. Traditional human workforces are becoming too slow and are prone to mistakes. The newly implemented smart warehouse robots are a more reliable and efficient labor solution. Warehouse robots have already started to make an impact with almost all the major online retailers using these robots to automate their distribution center to various extents.
Space is the new frontier. Humans have always looked up at the night sky and wondered what’s among the stars. However, space exploration is a dangerous task, leaving the comfortable atmosphere of our home planet and going into a very hazardous space environment. Instead of exposing humans to the unknown danger, machines are sent in people’s place. The NASA Mars Rover Curiosity is a great example where automation helps mankind to discover the unknown. Its mission is to determine whether the Red Planet is or ever was habitable to forms of life. The first step to finding another habitable planet for mankind.
Solar power has been gaining popularity over the past decade and people have been improving the efficiency of the process constantly. Solar tracking has played an important role in improving solar power generation, and automation is what drives the solar tracking technology. Linear actuators are used to move the solar panel or solar mirror to maximize the solar energy utilized. This will ensure solar power is generated at all times during the day, a key solution to a sustainable future for the energy industry.
With the increase in population density in many urban areas, traffic issues have become worse in almost all major metropolises. A solution to this problem has long been predicted to be self-driving cars; a well-programmed algorithm for all vehicles on the road will, in theory, eliminate all traffic jams. Automation will, of course, be instrumental in how self-driving cars operate, be it brakes, steering, and gear change. Without automation, a self-driving car would never be possible.
Smart homes have been making a huge impact on the market in recent years. Automation plays a huge role in implementing smart home technology in everyday homes. Ways you can automate your home include automatic garage door openers, smart window blinds, TV lifts, and smart locks, just to name a few. Almost every piece of technology in a smart home needs automation to power it. The smart home is making homes more comfortable, simpler and safer. It even helps you save power and be more environmentally conscious. It is sure to be the home of the future, and more features are being added constantly.
Human operated giant robots have long been many people’s fantasy. It is the subject of many science fiction movies and video games. With the help of recent advancements in automation technology, Hankook Mirae Technology in Seoul was able to build and test a fully functional giant manned robot. The application of this technology can be far-reaching: from construction, scientific exploration, and even military.
In a significant step toward autonomous shipping, Rolls-Royce was able to demonstrate the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel. In their demonstration, a team of well-trained crew operated the tug boat from land, with GPS tracking and wide range visual display on the screen. The future of the shipping industry will be more integrated with automation. With the cargo shipment journey lasting weeks, the remotely controlled vessel can reduce the manpower and potential danger exposed to humans on board.
In the past 20 to 30 years, manufacturing efficiency has increased significantly due to robotics and technology. Construction efficiency, on the other hand, has remained stagnant. With the introduction of construction robots like S.A.M, the construction industry can finally increase its productivity while reducing overall labor costs. This bricklaying robot can lay up to 3000 bricks a day, which is roughly 3 times faster than a seasoned human construction worker. Automation is leading the construction industry through a significant change just as it did for the manufacturing industry in the past few decades.