Humanoid Robots Could Be “Economically Viable” In a Few Years
Your new co-worker could be a robot. But have
more no fear; these ones look more like humans. For the first time, humanoid robots are being introduced into warehouses. Apptronik revealing last month that their all-electric robot, Apollo, can operate for four hours before it needs to recharge.
- Standing at 5’8, weighing 160 lbs and having a PR of up to 55 lbs, Apollo will initially be used to move boxes, but new features can be added in future software updates.
- Robots have been around for decades, just lacking fingers, which limits their function mostly to basic and repetitive tasks.
COVID-19’s impact on supply chains and a massive labor shortage made robots and automation a bigger manufacturing focus in recent years. And new technological advancements, including improvements in machine learning and batteries, have made humanoid robots more viable.
The (humanoid) robots are coming
Apollo joins a list of robotics companies, including Figure, Boston Dynamics and Tesla (Optimus) — which have unveiled human-like robots in recent years.
- In 2021, the number of industrial robots grew 31% to over 517K installations globally — doubling in six years.
- Asia dominated the industry, with 74% of all installations coming from countries including China, Japan and Korea.
Elon Musk predicts humanoid robots will eventually outnumber humans. Goldman Sachs expects a $6B market expansion in 10-15 years, with humanoid robots becoming “economically viable in factory settings between 2025 to 2028.” Long-term,, they could fill 48-126% of labor gaps and 53% of elderly care needs, per Goldman.
Forward-looking: So far, no company has “been successfully commercialized yet,” and several things need to happen before then — lower cost of production, longer battery life and increased mobility, agility and computation power — which can take many years to reach.