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Service robot demand surges

The market for service robots has jumped by 12 per cent over the past year and is now worth around $6.7bn, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

At the same time, turnover of consumer service robots grew 16% to $4.4bn.

A third of professional service robots were built for transportation of goods or cargo with the turnover for Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) and delivery robots up 11 per cent at over $1bn, with the focus being on production and warehouses.

Professional cleaning robots grew by 92% to 34,400 units sold, partly as a response to increasing hygiene requirements due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are now more than 50 service robot providers operating in this space.

Medical robotics accounts for 55%, in value, of the total professional service robot turnover in 2020, driven by robotic surgery devices – a segment that’s worth $3.6bn.

According to IFR, the global pandemic has created additional demand for social robots while the demand for hospitality robots has also jumped.

Robots for domestic tasks are the largest group of consumer robots and over 18.5 million units were sold in 2020.

The robotic service sector is growing rapidly and European suppliers account for around 47 per cent of the market. More and more start-ups are entering the market while acquisitions by more established businesses remain high.

It’s an industry that’s developing at pace and in the process is attracting both talent and investment.

Neil Tyler

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