Robotic automation has been a revolutionary technology in the manufacturing sector for some time. In recent days, the collaborative robot (COBOTs) space is growing and by 2025 it’s expected to reach 34% of all industrial robots sold. The selling points of these robots are cheaper price points, smarter systems, safety in co-working with humans, and ease of programming. By 2025, the robotic market is projected at $33.8 Bn for industrial and $11.2 Bn of this comprising of cobots. 
As robots and their control systems have become more powerful and flexible, they’re likely moving from heavy industrial applications into consumer products we use in our daily lives. Using sensors and other technologies these robots are contributing to three major home applications:
- Cleaning (vacuum, floor, lawn mowing, pool cleaning & window cleaning)
- Entertainment (toys & hobby robots)
- Domestic security and surveillance (machine vision, motion detection, etc)
Most robots used pre-defined routes, but in the case of consumer applications like robotic lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners they’re equipped to adjust their navigation based on the location of objects, humans, and obstacles on their way. Ultrasonic, infrared, and LIDAR sensing are the enabling technologies. Thus the robot’s mobility makes the need for a control unit to be located inside with wireless communication to a central remote. It’s expected that the global logistics robots will grow at a CAGR of more than 28% between 2018 to 2022. 
Time of Flight (ToF) Optical Sensors:
These sensors rely on the principle of ToF and use photodiodes along with active illumination to measure distance. The reflected light waves from obstacles are compared with the transmitted wave to measure the delay. The delay time is a representation of the distance and helps in creating a 3D map of the object.
Temperature and Humidity Sensors:
Many robots are designed to measure the temperature and humidity of both their environments and their components (motors, AI motherboards, etc) to ensure that they’re operating in safe environments. This is most important for motors as they take heavy load and it could draw up more power and heat up. In equatorial regions, these sensors can predict dew points for electronic system protections and enable predictive maintenance.
Vision sensors may not work if the robot is blinded by bright lights or in case of a dark environment. By transmitting ultrasonic waves and listening to echoes that reflect from objects help ultrasonic sensors perform excellently in such conditions. These sensors are cost-effective and more reliable than ToF sensors as they can sense even glass and transparent surfaces as well.
Cobots an Integral Part of Industry 4.0
Cobots are likely to play a key role in future projects such as Industry 4.0 & home automation. Many government enterprises are working to make the cobots work along with people. They offer tangible benefits to workers such as assistance in tedious, dangerous, boring, and monotonous tasks. Visual signal processing and AI along with newer technologies will boost the adoption of cobots.
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