When 5G networks become more viable, expect to see significant growth in the field of commercial robotics, especially outdoor applications: agriculture, last-mile delivery, haulage, and critical asset inspection, as well as public safety and first responders.
Most existing outdoor robots are fully autonomous devices with onboard intelligence. 5G offers the chance to upgrade robot capabilities when wide area machine-to-machine communication is available. Both situational awareness and information exchange between bots, cloud platforms, and surrounding infrastructure will be augmented, and if robotics vendors work with connectivity and chipset vendors in the design and prototyping phases, they’ll be able to maximize the benefits of ubiquitous connectivity.
“Existing onboard capabilities, such as object and people detection, path planning, and optimization can be shifted to the cloud,” said Lian Jye Su, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “At the same time, robotics systems will have access to capabilities that could not be previously hosted on existing systems. At present, remote control appears to be the focus, with Toyota’s T-HR3 and Naver’s AMBITEX, but the real game-changers will be conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) and swarm intelligence. 5G’s low latency will enable robotics vendors to augment the onboard intelligence or even move parts of it to the cloud to introduce new capabilities to existing robotics hardware. Enterprise users will be able to connect their fleet of outdoor robots to the cloud and enjoy the performance, scalability, and flexibility of the cloud-based intelligence.”
“In the long run, 5G will become the de facto connectivity method for outdoor robots. As a global standard, 5G enjoys economies of scale. This brings down the total cost of ownership of 5G networks and the price of 5G modem chipsets, allowing robotics developers to integrate 5G connectivity with ease,” said Su.
Shipments of 5G robots are expected to reach 570,000 by 2027, largely deployed in mission- and business-critical settings.
Source: ABI Research