The analysts from Sberbanks Robotics Laboratory offer their own functional definition of robotics which is viewed as a family of research areas, technologies, products, and manufactured goods, where every device has an ability to feel, understand, and act. The authors agree with the traditional division of robotics by application into industrial robotics (robot manipulators) and service robotics (personal robots, such as robotic vacuum cleaners, and professional robots, such as drones).
Both sectors are growing but the reasons for this are fundamentally different. Industrial robotics is mainly growing (at an average rate of 15% annually) due to the rapid automation of the Chinese economy. In 2016, 91% of all industrial robots were installed in the manufacturing sector. 74% of global sales of industrial robots are accounted for by 5 countries: China (30%), the Republic of Korea (14%), Japan (13%), the USA (11%), and Germany (7%).
The reasons for service robotics growth are more deep-rooted: the greatest share of global economy is a service economy. This is why service robotics demonstrates much higher growth rates even now (25% annually), despite lower figures in absolute terms, compared with industrial robotics.
The situation in Russia reflects the global trend. Despite being the last but one in the global list of countries by the degree of industrial robotization (in 2016, as few as 358 industrial robots were sold in Russia), the country has a good potential for growth in the area of service robotics the ratio of industrial and service robotics companies here is 1 to 10. Some Russian companies (for example, ExoAtlet and CyberTech Labs) have already entered the global market and successfully compete with foreign manufacturers.
Sberbank analysts give examples of projects that have every chance to succeed in the next 3 to 5 years and therefore may become good investment targets. Some of these projects are unmanned passenger vehicles, robots for commercial areas, personal robot assistants, logistics robots and unmanned freight vehicles, etc. One of the main obstacles to commercial robotics is the inadequacy of legal frameworks in modern countries; moreover, there is no universally recognized way to overcome this obstacle. However, this barrier also opens up some opportunities. According to the authors, the most successful startups in robotics will be operating in these «gray areas» where legislation doesnt completely regulate all the ways of interaction between the market participants.
This publication has been posted in the Roscongress Information and Analytical System on the recommendation of the Roscongress Foundation expert community.