Home Robots 2030 (Annotated)
Despite the slow growth to date of robots in the home, there are signs that this will change in the next fifteen years. Corporations such as Amazon Robotics and Uber are developing large economies of scale using various aggregation technologies. Also:
System in Module (SiM), with a lot of System on Chip (SoC) subsystems, are now being pushed out the door by phone-chip makers (Qualcomm’s SnapDragon, Samsung’s Artik, etc.). These are better than supercomputers of less than ten years ago with eight or more sixty-four-bit cores, and specialized silicon for cryptography, camera drivers, additional DSPs, and hard silicon for certain perceptual algorithms. This means that low cost devices will be able to support much more onboard AI than we have been able to consider over the last fifteen years.
Cloud (“someone else’s computer”) is going to enable more rapid release of new software on home robots, and more sharing of data sets gathered in many different homes, which will in turn feed cloud-based machine learning, and then power improvements to already deployed robots.
The great advances in speech understanding and image labeling enabled by deep learning will enhance robots’ interactions with people in their homes.
Low cost 3D sensors, driven by gaming platforms, have fueled work on 3D perception algorithms by thousands of researchers worldwide, which will speed the development and adoption of home and service robots.
In the past three years, low cost and safe robot arms have been introduced to hundreds of research labs around the world, sparking a new class of research on manipulation that will eventually be applicable in the home, perhaps around 2025. More than half a dozen startups around the world are developing AI-based robots for the home, for now concentrating mainly on social interaction. New ethics and privacy issues may surface as a result.