Moore’s Law says that CPU power basically doubles every two years. This theory originated in the 1960s and has held true for half a century. Many think that this exponential growth will eventually level off, but until that happens, technology will continue to become more advanced at a drastic rate.
There’s a nice quote from theoretical physicist Michio Kaku’s book Physics of the Future that puts Moore’s Law into perspective:
When you receive a birthday card in the mail, it often has a chip that sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to you. Remarkably, that chip has more computer power than all the Allied Forces of 1945…Today your cell phone has more computer power than all of the NASA back in 1969, when it placed two astronauts on the moon.
So when you consider how rapidly technology, specifically computing power, is advancing, it makes perfect sense that the robotics industry should grow along with it. Computers and robotics are very closely related, something you’re well aware of if you work with industrial motion control.
The International Data Corporation reported that the global market for robotics was $71 billion last year. The same report projected that global spending on robotics would reach $135.4 billion by 2019. While these numbers don’t match the staggering growth of Moore’s Law, the fact that the robotics market will nearly double in less than 5 years is remarkable.
Healthcare and manufacturing are two of the biggest industries contributing to the growing robotics market. While robotics in healthcare is a relatively new thing, manufacturing has been implementing robotics and automation since the industrial revolution.
The manufacturing sector accounts for most of the spending in the robotics market, and Industry 4.0 will continue to drive this spending. Industry 4.0 focuses on monitoring, recording, and applying data, and networking machines.
Asia continues to make up the largest geographic market for robotics spending, and is currently responsible for 65% of robotics spending. We will have to wait and see whether the robotics market actually doubles over the next few years, but one thing is certain. Robotics and automation are growing more sophisticated and more important in our everyday lives.