Robots have entered people’s homes in the past fifteen years. Surprisingly slow growth in the diversity of applications has occurred simultaneously with increasingly sophisticated AI deployed on existing applications. AI advances are often inspired by mechanical innovations, which in turn prompt new AI techniques to be introduced.
Over the next fifteen years, coincident advances in mechanical and AI technologies promise to increase the safe and reliable use and utility of home robots in a typical North American city. Special purpose robots will deliver packages, clean offices, and enhance security. But technical constraints and the high costs of reliable mechanical devices will continue to limit commercial opportunities to narrowly defined applications for the foreseeable future. As with self-driving cars and other new transportation machines, the difficulty of creating reliable, market-ready hardware is not to be underestimated.