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Advancements of Robotics in Industries

One of the fastest evolving and most fascinating fields of engineering is that of robotics and the
software that runs it. From Boston Dynamic’s initial inception of the quadrupedal “Spot” seen
today, there have been and will be moments of revelations that would drive their creation to be
even more agile, even more reliable, and even more applicable.
Since the first test run of “BigDog”, there have been countless examples of moments in their
development that would classify as a moment of “Eureka!”. Originally funded by a US
government-backed agency to create a pack mule for soldiers, the concept of a robotic canine
has evolved since, with uses in the construction industry along with many others. Their research
and development could potentially lead to a genesis of robotic automation in multiple job sectors
ranging from the service industry to the various manufacturing industries. ( Bobbie van der List,
2023 )
Despite the prospect of this research drastically boosting wealth concentration and displacing
jobs, it can also be seen in a more positive light. While humans have a unique capacity for
flexibility in the face of issues, it also creates the potential for imperfection. As small errors
accumulate, it is estimated that around 23% of unplanned downtime in manufacturing industries
is due to human error. ( Ian Wright, 2017 )
Robots, however, do not suffer from this problem. While they lack the decision making ability of
humans, they will tirelessly perform their programmed task with extreme precision and speed.
Mass- spread usage of robots could bolster multiple industries to be much more efficient and
effective. ( Bobbie van der List, 2023 )
But with constant development in robotics, it is not only possible, but entirely plausible that
soon, there will be multi-purpose, low cost robots that thrive even outside of controlled
environments and will be able to handle tasks with minimal human intervention for long periods
of usage, especially with the advances in artificial intelligence and computing ( Mediaworld,
2006 ). A glimpse of this can already be seen with “Spot”, which can adapt to situations outside
of a controlled environment and be utilised in areas with irregular ground and numerous
obstacles. ( Bobbie van der List, 2023 )
An example of utilising robots in hazardous locations that were previously inaccessible by
humans can be found in the national grid of Central Massachusetts. As an indispensable energy
source for New England, supplying more than a tenth of New England’s power, it is paramount
to keep the plant secure and running at all times without the expense of human safety. The
plant’s thyristor valve hall converts direct current to alternating current ( which increases voltage
and transmission distance ), and can not be entered by any humans during operation. This
means that the hall can only be inspected and maintained during downtime, a duration in which
no energy is supplied to New England’s power grid. ( BostonDynamics, 2022 )

This problem is solved by “Spot”, as it is autonomous and can operate within the electrical fields
of the thyristor valve hall. It is able to constantly and autonomously monitor the plant, not only
increasing the number of inspections that the plant can have, but also reducing the need for
planned outages in which humans can safely enter the building. This has allowed for increased
efficiency, with “Spot” even being entirely controlled and monitored from their control room, also
reducing manual labour and possibly further improving the lifetime of the plant. (
BostonDynamics, 2022 )
This directly proves that the usage of robots can not only be possible in many different areas of
employment, but also incredibly helpful and can dramatically mitigate human risk. With further
development of technologies similar to “Spot”, it is entirely plausible for entire jobs, perhaps
entire industries or entire sectors to be completely overtaken by automation, with only minimal
human oversight for our unique flexibility that robots still lack.
However, “Spot” still depends heavily on specialised human intervention for control and
maintenance. Once it becomes more independent along with increased flexibility and simplicity,
it would become easier to implement robots into organisations or workplaces. This would mean
that one of the key weaknesses of robots would be eliminated: the requirement for a worker with
highly specialised knowledge in order to program it for new tasks or new protocols. ( Bold
Narratives, 2023 )
If robots can be further acclimated into different types of industries, it would be a true turning
point for the course of humanity, with its conceptualization being more than enough to qualify as
being a moment of “Eureka!”, as it could be just as, or even more influential than previous
technological revolutions that came before it, strengthening human industries to near perfect
efficiency and rapidly accelerating human discoveries.

Works Cited

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