Robots: what’s the next killer app?

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June 25, 2015

By Robert McCutcheon, US Industrial Products Leader

Robots have come of age. Industrial and even residential robots’ capabilities more closely resemble episodes of The Jetsons than ever before. And among the top tech trends of 2015, we can look for “robots” to be on many top 10 lists.

A new breed of robots is marching onto America’s factory floors—they’re easier to use, safer and cheaper. But as with any tool, the technology will only be as good as the imagination of the user. As manufacturers or even hobbyists experiment with their circuited co-workers, they come up with new applications and tasks that go beyond the manufacturers’ suggested use. So, while the main-streaming of robotics will hinge on continued innovations (and lower costs), it will equally hinge on how the innovations are used.

As part of PwC’s thought leadership series on disruptive advanced manufacturing technologies, we recently gathered some PwC leaders at our 300 Madison Avenue headquarters for a discussion on where robots are now and where they’re going.

We also invited another esteemed guest to the table—a cobot (collaborative robot).

The task? A golf-putting competition. Turns out that the cobot delivered on cue with enviable, PGA-tour-level mechanics. Click the picture below to check out the putting competition and decide for yourself whether robots have finally come of age—not only on the factory floor, but in places we haven’t even dreamed.



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