Israel Innovation Authority published their annual report two months ago. The report looked at subjects like the Israeli tech scene, the rise of growth in companies, and one of the most intriguing matters of our time — robotics. Specifically, the robotic industry in Israel.
Whether we speak about factories operating autonomously, automatic vending machines, a robot that cleans the floor while we’re at work, or even a hotel in Nagasaki that is managed solely by robots, you can definitely say that we are surrounded by robots. Although you may think that this sounds like the theme of a Sci-Fi movie, if you take a moment and look around, you can see that our everyday lives are already filled with robots. The cars we drive, the printers we use, the smartphones we navigate our lives through, and even the machines that clean dishes and clothes for us, are all some level of robotic.
But, why now? Why has the robot scene started flourishing and receiving recognition?
Today, building robots is easier and cheaper than ever. As the availability of advanced sensors rises every year, competition and quality increases, while prices decrease. Thus, making it continually easier to make better and smarter robots. Just as we see the world, sense it, and hear it, now robots can do the same with powerful sensors at low prices. For example, if we compare the first generation of iRobot to the newest generation, we see that the mapping system has improved dramatically and prices have dropped. If we look at the GPS devices we used a few years ago (and paid considerable amounts of money for) compared to those that are now built in our mobile devices (for free), you can see how drastically accuracy and overall convenience have improved. These are just a few of the many examples in recent technological developments, accelerating the robotics scene.
Furthermore, knowledge about robotics is more accessible, whether it’s open code systems like ROS (Robotic Operating System) or Arduino controllers that give everyone the opportunity to start their own robotics project. The knowledge is out there, just a few clicks away and through the search of a couple of words on Google.
So, let’s look at the robotics scene in Israel. What lies ahead?
Here in Israel, like the rest of the world, we have recognized the need of investing in robotics with many companies entering the fields of AI (Artificial Intelligence), Automation, Mapping and more. Also, many defense technology companies created UAVs (drone) or unmanned robots, to defuse explosive devices.
A lot of students are exposed at an early age to knowledge of robotics by governmental and private organizations, where they become aware of subjects like engineering or different processes of building a robot. They even build their own robots and send them to international contests, allowing students to participate in really cool and interesting missions.
There is no doubt that we live in a thrilling era, with constant innovations, and the field of robotics is definitely a major player on the edge of science. All we can do is continue to push these ideas forward and improve these robots, to become the leaders of technology.