Robotics industry to create new jobs

The concept of robotics and automation have been in existence for years. The manufacturing and textile industry, in particular, is known for its early usage of robots during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s. However, it was not before the 20th century when automation began making its presence felt. In 1901, the world’s first vacuum cleaner was invented by Hubert Cecil. It was also during this time that electric-powered home appliances like toasters, blenders and sewing machines came into the picture.

Over time, many advancements took place in the field of robotics and automation. Years later, in 1961, Unimate, the world’s first industrial robot came into existence. The giant, automated arm garnered a lot of attention as it joined the assembly line at a General Motors plant in New Jersey.

Since then, manufacturing automation has been evolving at a rapid pace with major companies deploying robots. Many tasks that were earlier handled by humans are now entirely taken over by machines. Especially, when it comes to dull, repetitive, and dangerous tasks, robots are replacing human workers.

With AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning causing major disruptions across all sectors, the consumer robotics industry, too, has witnessed unprecedented growth in the last decade. In countries like Japan, South Korea and Germany, robots that help in household chores are steadily becoming a common reality. Moving on from AI-powered voice speakers, consumers have now started to welcome vacuum robots, mopping robots, and lawn mowing robots into their homes.

The consumer robotics market has already taken off, and it is likely to grow manifold in the near future. Besides house cleaning robots, there is a newfound demand for humanoids that can offer companionship. Some experts believe that it won’t be long before people begin to treat humanoids as part of their families. And, scientists have also been able to programme robots that not only look like humans, but also possess human values like empathy, compassion and even humour.

In India, the adoption of automated products has been slow in comparison to first world countries. However, things are changing now. Factors such as the increase in dual-income households, rising disposable income, and lifestyle changes have enabled customers to purchase AI-based smart devices like robotic cleaning products, fully automated washing machines, dishwashers etc., and therefore fueling the growth of India’s consumer robotics market. For a growing number of millennials, domestic robots are high in demand. While the trend is more visible in tier-I cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, a new consumer base is emerging in small towns as well.

However, the sudden explosion of the consumer robotics industry has given rise to an important question. Do these automated, smart devices pose any danger to average Indians? As surprising it may sound, the answer is no. In fact, this trend can create more jobs than it will destroy. The consumer robotics industry is expected to open a wide variety of prospects for both businesses and individuals. With more government and private entities embracing automation, it has the potential to create numerous employment opportunities in the upcoming years.

Opening new avenues

According to recent reports, India is projected to become the world’s 3rd largest consumer market by 2025. This means, more Indians will opt for robots that can help with their household chores and make their daily life easier.

At present, the consumer robotics market is mostly dominated by international players and the robots are assembled in foreign countries. In near future, however, it’s highly likely that the household robots will be manufactured in India, creating lakhs of jobs for India’s skilled youth.

Data analytics and programming for consumer robots like robotic vacuum cleaners and other automated household robots will result in ample job opportunities in the field of software engineering. Similarly, there will be an increased demand for workers with advanced tech skills. Also, the need for technical experts will continue to grow at a rapid pace in the years to come.

All in all, the growth of consumer robotics industry in India will open many new avenues. Especially, in terms of job creation, it could help innumerable unemployed Indians to find jobs and earn a better living.

However, it’s also the responsibility of the government to take up initiatives such as robotics workshops and training programmes for students and young professionals.

(The writer is COO, Puresight Systems)

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