In 2019, the global robotics market was around $115B, and it will surpass $275B by 2025, according to GlobalData forecasts. The overall revenue generated from the robotic surgical systems market alone will total around $4.6B in 2019.

Listed below are the key technology trends impacting the global robotics industry, as identified by GlobalData.

Cloud robotics

Advances in AI have enabled the development of robots, allowing them to become highly complex products rather than the stand-alone, fixed-function machines they used to be. This, in turn, has increased the number of roles that robots can perform. Central to this development has been cloud computing, which allows sensing, computation, and memory to be managed more rapidly, securely, and at scale. The leaders in cloud robotics include Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft.

In addition to enabling the implementation of AI technologies, the use of cloud computing within robotics has the potential to change the way that the technology is consumed. The robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) market includes products that integrate cloud-based management and analytics services with physical robots. All of the leading robot manufacturers have implemented cloud connectivity, enabling robots to be monitored, managed, and maintained remotely. This has made it possible for suppliers to support a consumption-based as-a-service model. RaaS is closely tied to the IoT, which is driving advances in automation.


AI technologies, most notably machine learning, are integral to the development of smart industrial robots, which are capable of anticipating and adapting to certain situations based on the interpretation of data derived from an array of sensors (such as 3D cameras, ultrasound transmitters, force sensors, and obstacle detectors). To take industrial automation and industrial robotics to the next level, further advances are needed in certain AI technologies, including computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), and contextual awareness.

Neuromorphic processors (chips that think like a human brain) will become an important part of the next generation of robots, as they are trained using basic libraries of relevant data and then taught to think by themselves by processing sensory inputs. Eventually, these chips will use their acquired skills to perform assigned duties using associations and probabilities. IBM and Intel currently lead in neuromorphic chip development, with UK start-up Graphcore also in the vanguard.

This is an edited extract from the Robotics in Medical Devices – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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