Warehouse fulfillment, construction, surgery and agriculture are important goals for automation
I visited Boston last week and met with a number of robotics researchers, start-ups and established companies – more on that later – ahead of TechCrunch's fourth annual TC Sessions Robotics + AI in early March. Much of the preparation for this event and my recent trip involved exploring some of the biggest calls for donations in the past year.
A quick overview of these trends shows that most investments focus on a handful of key categories. From there we can get a pretty clear overview of what the robot industry will look like in the coming years and what role these machines will play in our daily lives.
The definition of robotics is, of course, broad and is getting wider as these technologies are growing and mature. It is worth noting that I largely excluded autonomous driving for my own research – one of the main goals of robotics investments. It may be an arbitrary distinction that has more to do with the way we categorize technology, as opposed to robotics in the automotive or mobility industry.
Startups with artificial intelligence are only sparingly involved for similar reasons. Given these constraints, these industries have been the focus of robot investment: warehouse automation / fulfillment, construction, retail / food, agriculture, and surgery / medicine.