What’s the hype cycle for robotics?


We’ve all seen or heard of the Hype Cycle. It’s a visible depiction of the lifecycle levels a expertise goes by way of from the preliminary improvement to business maturity. It’s a helpful approach to observe what applied sciences are appropriate along with your group’s wants. There are 5 levels of the Hype Cycle, which take us by way of the preliminary pleasure set off, that results in the height of inflated expectations adopted by disillusionment. It’s solely as a product strikes into extra tangible market use, typically referred to as ‘The Slope of Enlightenment’, that we begin to attain full business viability.

Working with so many robotics startups, I see this stage because the transition into income technology in additional than pilot use circumstances. That is the purpose the place a startup not must nurture every buyer deployment however can produce reference use circumstances and begin to reliably scale. I believe it is a helpful mannequin however that Gartner’s classifications don’t do robotics justice.

For instance, this latest Gartner chart places Sensible Robots on the high of the hype cycle. Robotics is a really fast paced subject in the mean time. The vast majority of new robotics corporations are lower than 5-10 years outdated. From the angle of the tip consumer, it may be very tough to know when an organization is transferring out of the hype cycle and into business maturity as a result of there aren’t many deployments or a lot advertising at first, significantly in comparison with the media protection of corporations on the peak of the hype cycle.

So, right here’s the place I believe robotics applied sciences actually match on the Gartner Hype Cycle:

Innovation set off

  • Voice interfaces for sensible purposes of robots
  • Foundational fashions utilized to robotics

Peak of inflated expectations

  • Giant Language fashions – though prone to progress in a short time
  • Humanoids

Trough of disillusionment

  • Quadrupeds
  • Cobots
  • Full self-driving automobiles and vehicles
  • Powered clothes/Exoskeletons

Slope of enlightenment

  • Teleoperation
  • Cloud fleet administration
  • Drones for essential supply to distant areas
  • Drones for civilian surveillance
  • Waste recycling
  • Warehouse robotics (decide and place)
  • Hospital logistics
  • Schooling robots
  • Meals preparation
  • Rehabilitation
  • AMRs in different industries

Plateau of productiveness

  • Robotic vacuum cleaners (home and business)
  • Surgical Robots
  • Warehouse robotics (AMRs particularly)
  • Manufacturing facility automation (robotic arms)
  • 3d printing
  • ROS
  • Simulation

AI, within the type of Giant Language Fashions ie. ChatGPT, GPT3 and Bard is at peak hype, as are humanoid robots, and maybe the height of that hype is the thought of RoboGPT, or utilizing LLMs to interpret human instructions to robots. Simply within the final yr, 4 or 5 new humanoid robotic corporations have come out of stealth from Determine, Teslabot, Aeolus, Large AI, Agility, Halodi, and up to now solely Halodi has a business deployment doing inner safety augmentation for ADT.

Cobots are nonetheless within the Trough of Disillusionment, regardless of Common Robotic promoting 50,000+ arms. Folks purchase robotic arms from corporations like Common primarily for affordability, ease of setup, not requiring security guarding {hardware} and able to industrial precision. The complete promise of collaborative robots has had bother touchdown with finish customers. We don’t actually deploy collaborative robots engaged in frequent hand-offs to people. Maybe we want extra twin armed cobots with higher human-robot interplay earlier than we actually discover the probabilities.

Apparently the Trough of Disillusionment generates numerous media protection however it’s normally adverse. Self-driving automobiles and vehicles are positively on the backside of the trough. Whereas powered clothes or exoskeletons, or quadrupeds are slightly tougher to put.

AMRs, or Autonomous Cell Robots, are a type of self-driving cargo that’s way more profitable than self-driving automobiles or vehicles touring on public roads. AMRs are primarily deployed in warehouses, hospitals, factories, farms, retail services, airports and even on the sidewalk. Behind each profitable robotic deployment there’s in all probability a cloud fleet administration supplier or a teleoperation supplier, or monitoring service.

Lastly, the Plateau of Productiveness is the place the world’s hottest robots are. Peak recognition is the Roomba and different house robotic vacuum cleaners. Earlier than their acquisition by Amazon, iRobot had bought greater than 40 million Roombas and captured 20% of the home vacuum cleaner market. Now business cleansing fleets are switching to autonomy as nicely.

And naturally Productiveness (not Hype) can also be the place the workhorse industrial robotic arms stay with ever growing deployments worldwide. The Worldwide Federation of Robotics, IFR, experiences that greater than half one million new industrial robotic arms have been deployed in 2021, up 31% from 2020. This determine has been rising fairly steadily since I first began monitoring robotics again in 2010.

What does your robotics hype cycle seem like? What expertise would you want me so as to add to this chart? Contact andra@svrobo.org

Andra Keay
is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founding father of Girls in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and suppose tanks, with a powerful curiosity in commercializing socially constructive robotics and AI.

Andra Keay
is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founding father of Girls in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and suppose tanks, with a powerful curiosity in commercializing socially constructive robotics and AI.