Small ‘Cobots’ May Fill Worker Vacancies

Changes in political climate being driven by England’s decision to leave the European Union have motivated AI developers and the robotics industries to boost their efforts to make up for fewer migrant workers being allowed in.

Restaurant and bar businesses may be the first locations where robotics become widespread, according to a story in Metro News.

These collaborative robots, or “cobots,” are a less expensive, smaller version of traditional robots now found on factory floors. Cobots cost £10,000 ($13,265) as opposed to the £100,000 ($132,653) that a traditional factory robot would cost. The lower cost and an expected  labor shortage have spurred UK businesses to increase their orders of the robots.

A labor shortage because of Brexit could soon mean “cobot” replacement workers in many UK businesses.

“Mark Gray, of Universal Robots, told trade magazine The Manufacturer: ‘In the past month I’ve sold six cobots to companies …struggling to find staff because eastern Europeans either aren’t coming over or in sufficient numbers or are returning home.’ “

According to an MIT study, the combined use of robots and humans actually leads to a more productive work environment, as “co-operation between robots and humans is more productive than solely using either robots or humans.” The study found that it increases human idle time by 85%.

James Stettler, an analyst at Barclays Capital, said the cobot market could grow from just over $100 million last year to $3 billion by 2020, according to a story in the Financial Times. The food robotics market, specifically, is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2022, according to