I read recently that funding for robotics startups has surged in the past few years. If you keep abreast of funding announcements, this rings true. Robotics, however, seems to be one of the industries where you hear a lot about the funding and don’t see many of the results. Aside from a few Boston Dynamics videos every year, I haven’t seen many final products, or even progress for that matter. Why is robotics progress so cloak and dagger? With all this funding, will we see mountains of new robotic technology within the next ten years?
According to market research firm Tractica, the total worldwide revenue for non-industrial (or Commercial Robots) eclipsed the Industrial market in 2016, both being close to USD$20B in revenue. The market for Industrial robots is growing faster than it has been, but is in the single digits after 50 years. On the other hand, Commercial Robot revenue is expected to grow ten times in the next five years. By 2021, Commercial Robot revenues should exceed USD$200B.
There are numerous online publications and news sources about robots and robotics, easily found with a Google search. Investment in robot startups is one of the hotter areas in the Silicon Valley and China.
Almost all of the startups in the "Commercial" field are still single purpose robots. For the market to meet the exponential growth that is forecast will require multiple platforms that will open up the market to software developers. This is what we are doing at TRC (TelepresenceRobotics.com). Not needing to develop, manufacture, and maintain hardware will give software-based entrepreneurs an economic advantage over the unique-build robot solutions, and it will allow entrepreneurs to go after smaller markets or niche markets which would not be economically viable in the current model of build and deploy.
Hope that gives you a little more insight.
CEO and Founder, Telepresence Robotics Corporation