Robotics, Automation & Business News Index: 2020

Robotics | Automation | Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Advanced Manufacturing | 3D Printing

Welcome to 2020

Welcome to our Article Index. Encounter Serendipity. Specially prepared with you in mind.
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Asia: Overview by Region

The Asian Century & The Xi Effect
Asia’s Rendezvous with the Future Is Arriving Fast
The world’s showcase and continent-wide laboratory for robot-driven automation in this The Fourth Industrial Revolution

East Asia Bears Watching
Something very big is going on here: Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo

Southeast Asia: The Bounty & Promise of ASEAN
Food, consumers and industry in exchange for investment and automation technology

China’s Big Push: Xi, Robots and Productivity
Leap to manufacturing economy based on invention and technology demands increased productivity

Emperor of All Robots Put to the Test
Saving Japan from itself with robotics: Competition and productivity 
for a shrinking workforce

Korea Awakens, Reacts…and Accelerates
Economic urgency spurs demand for advanced manufacturing robots

Crunch Time for Taiwan: Robotics and Automation
Aware of its limitations and very tardy, Taiwan hurries to catch up with East Asia

Robots for India: Industry’s Troubling Headwinds
Robots, automation, Gandhi and “premature de-industrialization.”

January 2020

Elusive Level 5
Way Not Ready for Prime Time: Self-Driving Cars
Could it be that Level 5 self-driving vehicles may not be the solution we really need? What happened to all the research that says computers, AI, and humans “together” are the best-of-all teams?

Can Welding Robots Fill Fastening Void?
40% of manufacturers declined new contracts because not enough skilled welders were available. Global shortage of qualified welders 1.2 million by 2022. Greatest need: U.S., China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand.

Enabling “Extreme Manufacturing”
Robots in Manufacturing: Enterprise View
In taking an endeavor to achieve near-complete automation and linking all business processes to manufacturing gives rise to hard questions.

Clueless or Inept?
Feds Clueless About Impact of Automation
After six years of media frenzy and taxpayer concern over automation, still no action…or even a plan.

Does America Need a Czar of Reskilling?
How should America go about reskilling millions of workers whose jobs are being targeted by automation and artificial intelligence?

Cobotics World’s Top 5 Grippers
SCHUNK, Robotiq, OnRobot, Piab, New Scale
The Gripper Guys from Genoa Pick Most Innovative Grippers for 2019

E-Commerce at Work: Humans Beware
The churn in e-commerce warehouses is challenging humans to keep pace. Can they for very long?

Japan: Frontlines of “Robo-Conversion”
Many businesses could shutter completely if robots don’t step up and fill the mountain of available jobs. With big change comes big opportunity…and Japan knows it.

New Decade, New Vibe: Robotics 2020
Cobots and mobile robotics to lead. Legacy, industrial robotics in for rough ride unless it has a “cobot moment” or two.

Taming bedlam
Making CES 2025 Better Than CES 2020
Why not “smart” events? AI and digital disruption could profoundly change the $650 billion global event industry from the inside out.

Cobot Revolution Continues
New Cobots to Consider for 2020
New kids on the block display next-gen cobotics: FANUC CRX, Jaka Zu, and Flexiv’s Rizon challenge the status quo.

New Column:The Gripper Chronicles
The Rise of the Smart Gripper
What next for the all-important, business end of every robot…the gripper?

February 2020

New Column, New Columnist
Dr. Hu on Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
How do we get to next? Dr. Albert Hu navigates the crosscurrents of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)

Littler: The Emerging Workplace
Legal Risks Using AI to Make Hiring Decisions
What are some of the legal risks & pitfalls when using AI technology to make hiring decisions?

Webcast: Great Ideas in Robotics
Conversing with Robots the Hanson Way
Interview: David Hanson on building humanoid robots in Asia

Return to the Good Old Days of 2017
Forecast 2020
Industrial robots, cobots, grippers & EOATs, logistics robots, mobile robots: AGVs, ASRS & AMRs

Asia-Pacific to Skyrocket in 2020!
Global Industrial Robot & Cobot Market 2020-2025
Doubling Sales! $20.24B 2019, expected to reach $42.34B by 2025

“Giant sums of money spinning into Canada”
Canada: AI Giant’s Moment of Truth
How much of Canada’s AI wealth—critical tech for robotics and automation—will be gobbled up by foreign interests?

Speculative Robotics
Can Robot Sentinels Warn of Viruses?
Mobile robots bristling with sensor tech and AI—like an electronic “smart nose”—might provide early warning enough to prevent Wuhan-like disasters

Some Things Bear Repeating
Airports as Virus Carriers
A chilling threat of epidemics and pandemics lurks within every airport during a virus crisis. Before future viruses get out of hand, wouldn’t an army of virus-busting robots patrolling airports help in the alert process? As of 3 February 2020, there are zero. Airports worldwide: 41,000

March 2020

The Gripper Chronicles
Gripper Tech Evolves…again!
The business end of industrial robot arms is in yet another growth spurt.

 Automating India
Industrial Robots & Cobots to 2025
Can domestic manufacturers compete with foreign robots and impact India’s new automation market?

A True Helper & Buddy
What I Want from a Home Robot
It’s not lawn mowing, vacuuming, doing laundry, or cooking meals

Asian Robotics in the OR
Asian Surgical Robotics Market Doubles by 2025
Aging populations, increased acute and chronic disease to drive market
from $4 billion to $8 billion

Dr. Valerie Morignat & Garry Mathiason
HR’s Burden: Responsible Use of AI
Webinar: Meeting the Legal and Ethical Challenges of AI-Powered HR Systems

MCI Robotics Takes Aim at SME Mega-Market
“The world’s best automation technology at an affordable package”
How annoying can a robot become?
Curse of the Digital Workplace: RoboBully
Study Finds Robots Easily Bully Office Workers


The Godfather of Thai Robotics
Thai Robotics & The Godfather’s Backstory
Thai robotics comes of age: The man who made it happen

New-Age Tech Partnering
Steel-Collar Farmhands: Robots in Fields & Orchards
Accelerating innovation and speed to market via partnerships powered by investments from industry titans John Deere, Kubota, and Yamaha. Is it the new normal for field robotics?

April 2020

COVID Accelerates Automation & Job Losses
Is it time for a new-age G.I. Bill that targets reskilling/upskilling?

The Great Virus War of 2020
Service Robots Head to Pandemic’s Frontlines
Meet FACO: New Breed of AI-Powered, Multi-Tasking Service RobotsNew Breed: “Collaborative” Service Robots
Service Robots & The
Pandemic Next Time!

Will service robots make the deadline? They need help in order to help us

He’s Back!
The Daybooks of Dr WHu: April 2020
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) illuminated. It’s personal! One man’s journey into unravelling complexity through storytelling.

Disruptor in the Pharmacy
Pharmacy Robots: Rise of Error-Free Drug Dispensing
$7.8B industry by 2024; tireless, 24/7 pharmacy robots could help save 100k lives annually

Littler Worldwide Insight:
COVID Effect on Global Workplace, Workers & Jobs

When the World First Went Digital
Digital Disruption Is Not New! It’s as New as 1949
Digital disruption began in an old laundry building at 10,000 calculations per second. Quite literally, it was The Beginning That Changed Everything

Top News Hits for March 2020
Stories you liked best in March. Thank you for your interest.


August 2020

NEW COLUMN: Do Yourself a Favor
Career Idea #1: Go to Sea with an Ocean-Going Robot
The first in our newly-launched series that examines the future of 32 AI-powered jobs in robotics that are going mainstream. Take a look, spend some time, dig around at this as a career for you. 

Relax, Facial Recognition Is Toast. Seriously
Algorithm that thwarts facial recognition algorithms might be just a beginning; one that may even point to a real job for household robots to take on.
32 Robotics & AI “Smart” Jobs Just for You
New, Upcoming Column: Do Yourself a Favor

This school year Asian Robotics Review will launch a new column that looks a bit more closely at those 32 jobs, and we’ll interview people working them who love what they do.

Plague-Proof Robots Wanted Long Term
Nice to Know We’re Appreciated
It took a war, but battle-tested healthcare robots are now on every hospital’s must-have list. Lifesavers for both patients and staff
Can Robotics Stem Global Food Spoilage & Waste?
Asia, especially China, needs to overhaul the food supply chain from farms to chopsticks. Agricultural robotics, warehouse automation, and improved transportation offer a way forward
Retrain and reskill workers now…or else!
Facts: Yes, Robots Take Jobs and Lower Wages
It’s Official. Now we know! Pre-COVID (2008-2017) “robot intensity” doubled in U.S., took jobs and lowered wages. Post-COVID, joblessness may accelerate, in a hurry.
“Seven months on, he’s a celebrity!”
The Dr. WHu Sampler
How do we get to next? Dr. Albert Hu navigates the crosscurrents of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)

What’s important to know about COVID
Understanding COVID With Margaretta Colangelo
One woman’s mission to learn everything about COVID…and then to share it with the rest of us.
Amazing Margaretta! It all began in a cafe in Honolulu…
Robotics Events Network
Should Robotics Events Have an Exclusive Online Network?
As COVID drives live trade shows into an online-only existence, online trade shows begin to show promise for the robotics industry.

Dr. WHu returns for August with a New World in Tow
New World, New AI Arms Race
Three unexpected trends—COVID, AI/ML, BLM—merge to birth a new world order.

July 2020

Tips on how to keep the edge with AI
HR in the Era of Pervasive AI
Powering up HR systems to remain competitive…and save your job

Brainy Logistics: Intelligent Robots Step Up, Part 1
Times grows short for workers

Brainy Logistics: Intelligent Robots Step Up, Part 2
Like their human counterparts, pre-AI robots may well be facing an uncertain future of huge layoffs.

Special 63-page Research Report
Automation & The Future of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia Is China All Over Again…Only Better!

Automated Meat Processing Post-COVID
Humans in the Loop: A Virus Time Bomb.

Finding the Robot “Sweet Spot”
Getting Serious with Robots

Space Robots to Sweep Up Orbiting Debris
 Robots for trash roundup, disposal, even space repairs, getting ready to ensure satellite safety in Low Earth Orbit
Three for Asia: Robots & Automation
SONY’s PlayStation Robots, China’s 5G Green Thumb, Southeast Asia Courts Supply Chains

June 2020

China’s Back, Fast!
China Is the World’s Factory, Now More Than Ever
How did China do it? Hard work at building out its robotics infrastructure!
Here are four of the reasons WHY…
—The Editors, Asian Robotics Review

China’s New Trend: Precision Robotics
With the aid of AI/ML, China turns hard-to-do robotics, like polishing and welding, into a competitive advantage.

Of Farms, Weeds & Robots
Can robot weeders save 200 million metric tons of grain from weed devastation?
A young industry with a massive upside coming of age.

COVID Vaccine Key to Cobot & Robot Sales
Until a COVID vaccine arrives to return the natural order of things, vendors are successfully going online to reach customers. Digital, for many, may well become a permanent reality…because it works.

AI/ML…you cannot afford not to have it!
The Great Corporate AI Arms Race
Marcus Aurelius-esque commitment and judgment is critical to successful deployment. There is no substitute for human leadership.

Looking Behind the Numbers: 2.5M Jobs in May!
With 30 million unemployed waiting on the sidelines, the Emma Coalition’s Michael Lotito discusses workplace transformation and what’s really happening to jobs.

Meet the Enemy
Drones vs. Locusts: Technology vs. Plague
Biblical scourge still causes billions in damage, but hunter-killer drones could keep 25 million from starvation. The drone advantage: Seek-and-destroy missions before locusts grow their wings.

The Gripper Chronicles
Got a Bright Idea for a New GM Gripper?
Enter the GM Gripper Challenge. Your bright idea could lead to fame & fortune

May 2020

The Future of the Trade Show Industry
Is the $2.5 trillion trade show industry too big to fail? Has COVID created online competition that will permanently disrupt, or maybe even doom, the future of “too big to fail” trade shows?

Emerging Trends
New Era for Retail Robots in Grocery Industry
“Movement toward multimodal robots that are efficient at performing various functions adds to the value equation”

Taming bedlam
Making CES 2025 Better Than CES 2020
Why not “smart” events? AI and digital disruption could profoundly change the $650 billion global event industry from the inside out

Returning to Work in a COVID-era World
Leveraging emerging technology: Employer, employee, safety & productivity

The Future Knocks Once. Let’s Be Ready This Time
“We’re not a training nation”
Will COVID expose other vulnerabilities like the lack of U.S. “reskilling and worker training” capabilities?

During COVID!
Going Back to Work
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to returning to work and that makes the process all the more challenging for employers.

China’s Cobots: Big Job Ahead
The stage is set for a wave of cobot automation to sweep across China’s factories.

China Restarts Factories: Robots Take Center Stage
COVID-19 spurs manufacturing to more automation, more robots…and to some unexpected insights.

“…We Owe So Much to So Few”
Brave Hearts on the Frontlines of the COVID War
For April, instead of thanking you and showing you which of our articles you liked best last month, we decided to share with you the Best of Us at Work saving lives.

Elbowing to Success the Sun Tzu Way
Making Room at the Cobot Table
No better time to joust with cobot leader Universal Robots for customer attention, brand recognition, and, of course, sales.

Is 3D Machine Vision Right for Vision-Guided Robotics?
OnRobot’s new 2.5D product release Eyes, and others, seem to be saying not so fast.

Massive Job Ahead for Service Robots
COVID Time Capsule
A stash of memories from the most incredible of human disasters…a few resolutions for tomorrow…and a promise for next time.

December 2020

Digital Disruption of the Events Industry
What’s the Buzz with Robotics Events for 2021?
The all clear, 4Q2021. Yikes! or hallelujah!

Hey World, Let’s Get Going Again!
We Need Jobs, Reskilling & Reinvigorating
Workers and employers alike have COVID & robot fatigue; they have turned the page, and with clearer heads are now preparing for a bright new future.

Miracle at the Hotel Jingxi
China’s Best Christmas Gift Ever!
Keeping the sheen on Deng Xiaoping’s “Big Idea”

Here Comes Micro Fulfillment
Going Micro: Boon to Dying Malls and Warehouse Robots
Empty malls converted to last-mile warehouses forecast to $10B by 2026, while logistics robotics to flourish.

The $93 Image Sensor for Robots
Will SONY’s New AI-Image Sensor Make Robots Smarter?
Intelligent sensing: World’s first image sensor with integrated AI combines processing power and memory for vision tasks without extra hardware.

Dogfight on the DMZ?
Hyundai scoops up Boston Dynamics for $1.1B. Would Kim Jun-un counter with mega-dogs? Endless possibilities are afoot: A World of Other DMZs Await!

Goodbye saws, drills, chisels and files
Old Bones, New Lasers & Surgical Cobots
The whir of saws cutting bone in operating rooms now has a silent challenger.

OnRobot’s Online Expo Was Worthwhile…and Fun
Finally, a robot company with a knack for producing a great online trade show.
The Search for Compassionate Stakeholders
Eventually, Automation Will Make Every Job a Goner
Massive government interventions will be needed to retrain millions of workers for better jobs. Recently proposed legislation holds promise.

November 2020

Protopia and the End of Humans Coding Anything
With “developer dropout” shockingly 30%—and rising! are humans ill-suited as programmers? Would AI/ML be a better choice?

Robots Offer Singapore a Bright Future, If…
$14B “Winning the Future” initiative pegs robots and automation as “essential enablers”

Career Idea #8: Mining with Mobile Robots & Drones
A field so new that AI and robot “smarts” are just moving in.
Navigating the AGV/AMR/ASRS Universe
Making sense of an ecosystem of 230-plus vendors, myriad form factors, and confusing terminology can be dauntingly complex
Humans Beware: Robots as Slave Drivers
Maybe it’s better if humans and robots never work side by side; or worse, if humans have a robot boss. Work could get nasty in a hurry.
Demise of Dumb
Why Make Industrial Robots Smart?
A new generation of robots is on the rise, and their calling card reads, smart!
China Stocking Its Cupboards in a Hurry
The “denial order” that hit ZTE was a major wake-up call. What if there are more on the way? Can’t have automation if there’s nothing for robots to make.
Down to the Sea in “Smart” Robots
From deep-sea rovers to digital clipper ships, surface and subsea builders race to introduce AI into their marine robots.

October 2020

The Beginning That Changed Everything
One Man’s Digital Vision of the Future and How to Get There
Don’t blame the robots
The Reskilling “List”: Who’s on It, Who’s Not & Why
Will AI vet the list? Will it be biased?
AI, Ethics & Leadership in the New World
“Morality in everyday life is ‘messy’. We are not all bad. And we are not all good.”

Robots and the Great Asian Warehouse Makeover
Logistics finally capitulates to robots in the West, but biggest gains to be felt in Asia. Look for 2021-2026 to be huge!
Warehouse Tech Scene Gets Crowded
650 companies shaping warehouse automation while vying for its $30B payoff.
What a Robotics Career Looks Like
What does it mean to get paid to work on robots?
China’s Place in the Robot Universe
Wondering about or mystified over China’s plans for automation and what the industrial robotics market is like in China? Don’t be!

On World Mental Health Day:
Big Job Ahead for “Smart” Service Robots
Let’s Get Creative with “Smart” Robotics

Post-COVID Sense of Urgency
Three Trends in Global Robotics
The $5 trillion robotics dividend: The implications of the emerging challenges are immense, especially in Asia

Selling Robots to the “Data Era” Crowd
Data Era leaders: 38 first-adopters of data and digitalization tech reaping the benefits of improved productivity…and looking for more. So too are their suppliers!
Resurgent China Open for Business Once Again
Surviving COVID and flourishing through a trade war, Middle Kingdom seems ready once more to take on automation

September 2020

Careers in “Smart” Robotics
Our new career guide has been mobbed with attention. Been there yet? Most clicked-on careers (through September): Ocean-going robots; and locust patrol with hunter-killer drones.

“INFOCOM’s New Personal Robot
Meet TIMA: Innovative, Personal, and Mobile Robot

Soft Grippers: Food Industry’s New Friend
Eliminating pathogens, people and wages from the $8.7T global food industry

NEW COLUMN: Careers in “Smart” Robotics: Do Yourself a Favor
Career Idea #5: Go Get Emotional with a Personal Robot
Help open a door in personal robots for “Relational AI”— “AI that can understand us as people and treat us as people.”
Around Asia, September 2020
Robotics, Automation & AI: Japan, Korea & Taiwan

NEW COLUMN: Careers in “Smart” Robotics: Do Yourself a Favor
Career Idea #4: Go Flying with a Hunter-Killer Drone!
Hunter-killer drones could keep 25 million from starvation. The drone advantage: Seek-and-destroy missions before locusts grow their wings

$100B Endless Frontier Act Will Energize Robotics, Automation, and Workforce Reskilling
U.S. Congress readies to pass historic science & technology bill.

New Column: Do Yourself a Favor
Career Idea #2: Go Small with Nanobots, NaNots…or Smaller!
32 AI-powered jobs in robotics that are going mainstream. Get one! 

China Back in Business with Industrial Robots
A $1.4 trillion “new infrastructure initiative” has put the buzz back into China’s automation quest.