Robotics Evolve into Multi-Dimensional machines

It was quite amazing to see KITT—an advanced artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, self-aware black car—from the American TV series Knight Rider 30 years ago, speak and act autonomously. Now many tech and defense companies are building KITTs, according to Sangeeta Das, founder of the R&D/consulting group Collaborative Intelligence Pvt. Ltd. She reported on an expo by the India-based version of the U.S. defense department’s DARPA, called DRDO, or Defence Research and Development Organization in his Digital Dossier column entitled, “When Mechatronics Melds with Artificial Intelligence.”

At the event, AI-driven unmanned and autonomous ground and aerial vehicles were demonstrated to walk, jump, float, swim, glide, fly and overcome almost all terrains, according to Das, who credits the advances to machine learning (ML), a core area of AI. Mechatronics ranges from exoskeletons to sophisticated weapons.

“We transcend into a nearly sci-fi world with augmented reality (AR), holograms, autonomous vehicles, robots, exoskeletons, drones, AI assistants like Alexa and many more such finite toys. These are technical objects designed and built by people like us. Truly, this belief turned my passion into a profession, and in hindsight, I have found robots to be technologically complex beings, much needed to support humanity. Robotics is interdisciplinary and thus a combination of mechanical, electronics and computer science has lead to Mechatronics being one of the most coveted fields and as this meets AI, we produce Intelligent Robots.Technical classification of Robots are based on locomotion such as stationary, wheeled, legged, swimming and flying robots.”

Das cited a Statista report describing how robotics will become a $500 billion market globally by 2025—both in consumer and industrial segments. He also noted a MarketsandMarkets report that the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) market is projected to grow from $1.49 billion in 2016 to $2.63 billion by 2021 and the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market, valued at $18.14 billion in 2017 and projected to reach $52.30 billion by 2025.

Defense-related technologies are among the most advanced, ranging from variations on exoskeletons to swarming weapons.