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AI Robots: How AI and Robotics Work Together (7 Examples)

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

The capabilities of AI robots include delivering outstanding customer service and performing surgery. Read on to learn how else AI robots are being used in business.

Robotics is one of many branches that falls under AI. In the same way, AI is one of many branches that fall under robotics. This distinction is not very clear for many people, so the concepts are often used interchangeably. Let’s quickly clear the confusion.

AI is its own field that has proven to be powerful without robotics, and robotics is also its own field that has proven to be powerful without AI. Now, the two areas are frequently merged for serious business impact.

Read on to learn about use cases ranging from retail to healthcare and from customer service to manufacturing.

Difference between artificial intelligence and robotics

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technology that has the capability of doing tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence to do, for example, reading human emotion, driving a car, and learning.

On the other hand, what constitutes a robot has long been debated by the biggest experts in the field. One of the more official definitions comes from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 8373:2012):

“Actuated mechanism programmable in two or more axes with a degree of autonomy, moving within its environment, to perform intended tasks.”

The major difference between AI and traditional robotics is that traditional robots can only do what it’s been explicitly programmed to do. In contrast, AI can learn in various ways and make independent decisions as it gets smarter.

The business impact of AI robots

Merging robots and AI leads to more intelligent robots, making them even more human-like (or super-human-like).

You’ve likely heard of the robot Sophia, a type of humanoid robot, who has successfully conducted many interviews over the years. As impressive as she is, she only scratches the surface with what advanced AI robots can do.

Here are some common ways AI is transforming the way traditional robots are used in business.

1. Deliver world-class customer service with an AI-powered humanoid robot

A humanoid robot is a robot that resembles a person; these robots can interact with potential customers in person to greet them, help them look for an item, or guide them around.

With service robots, retail business owners are free to reduce or reallocate labor costs. For example, robots can take over repetitive tasks like answering simple questions, freeing workers to take more consultative sales roles within the same company. Additionally, AI robots can work 24/7, which can be helpful for business owners in big cities like New York City.

Although service robots are becoming ubiquitous among retail businesses, they can also be used in reception roles, call centers, and banks.

Some exceptional capabilities of AI-powered customer service bots compared to traditional robots include the ability to:

  • Record customers’ facial expressions as data

  • Collect valuable feedback from conversations

  • Make powerful and personalized real-time recommendations based on gathered data

2. Deliver orders with an autonomous robot

The demand for autonomous delivery robots exploded in 2021 as a result of the pandemic. There has been an unprecedented increase in online orders, and businesses need a way to keep up with demand.

AI-powered autonomous robots can navigate themselves, detect objects to avoid crashing, and follow commands to help fulfill orders.

3. Reduce food waste in agriculture with human-like robots

AI robots can learn on the job and perform tasks like picking quickly and for long periods. The AI robots are smart enough to make decisions surrounding physical features such as shape, size, and whether a fruit or vegetable has blemishes.

Another way AI is helping robots in this area is grip strength. For example, you likely would not grip an avocado with the same strength that you’d grip an egg. Gripping problems have been an area of struggle with traditional robots.

4. Keep your workplace clean with robot janitors

Sam’s club and Walmart are two of many organizations that have already started deploying robot janitors. Without AI, robots could not clean with customers in the store. AI allows robots to be smart enough to function in a crowded store or workplace environment safely. Some robot janitors can even use UV lights to neutralize dangerous pathogens, which has been particularly helpful during the pandemic.

5. Collaborative robot in surgery

A collaborative robot works explicitly alongside others. Some surgical procedures require extreme precision and are physically demanding, two areas where robots excel. Robots can consistently perform at 100%, with a steady, non-shaky motion, and without fatigue.

AI comes into the picture by allowing robots to learn from surgeons by watching them. In other words, the surgical robot can learn on the job as a human could. The precision of robots has already been impressive, but AI can improve it even more.

6. Automate the machine tending process with collaborative robots

Machine tending can sometimes be dangerous, making it the perfect job for a robot to assist with. It’s also very repetitive. Machine tending is when an operator loads a machine with raw material or parts, runs a program, and then unloads the machine to gather the completed work.

AI helps robots improve in real-time, which allows them to boost the efficiency of the entire operation and dramatically adds to a culture of continuous improvement in manufacturing plants.

7. Assign companion robots for elderly care

Companion robots can do a range of duties to increase the quality of life for their elderly companion. For example, they can keep them from feeling alone, remind them to take pills, and ensure their safety. Machine learning, a subset of AI, allows the robots to collect data to make smart recommendations like ideas for entertainment and exercise suggestions.

AI improves the robot’s ability to respond to commands, engage in conversation, and provide emotional support.

The future of AI robots

AI robots, although still in their early stages, have already made major noise across the world.

They have the ability to perform repetitive tasks with remarkable precision and without getting tired. AI robots will also take over dangerous jobs, such as defusing bombs and exploring other planets—all while having the capability of learning on the job as a human would.

As more AI robots make their way into the workforce, human workers will be free to do more creative and fulfilling work.

Here’s a fun read you can pass on to a software developer who might be interested in learning how to apply robotics and machine learning uniquely. And if you’re curious about how AI robots could affect the future of your business, let’s talk. The future of your business could depend on AI.

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