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COVID-19 a catalyst for global robot population growth

  • Professional service robots reached a turnover of US$6.7 billion worldwide.
  • At 18.5m units, robots for domestic tasks are the largest group of consumer robots.
  • The global COVID-19 pandemic has created additional demand for social robots.

The population of robots is expanding globally, brought on by improving technologies and increasing demand as the COVID-19 pandemic changes the way people interact in an age of social distancing.

According to a November World Robotics 2021 – Service Robots report, presented by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the market for professional service robots reached a turnover of US$6.7 billion globally, up 12% in 2020.

Turnover of new consumer service robots grew 16% to US$4.4 billion.

Demand for professional cleaning robots has grown by 92% to 34,400 units sold on the back of new hygiene requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50 service robot providers have developed disinfection robots which spray disinfectant fluids, or use ultraviolet light.

The global pandemic created additional demand for social robots, particularly for residents of aged care facilities to keep in contact with friends and family members during times of social distancing.

Communication robots that provide information in public environments to avoid personal human contact, have increased in number to connect people via video for a business conference or help with maintenance tasks on the shopfloor.

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