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What role does artificial intelligence play in the functioning of robots?

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Various innovations are constantly emerging to advance the field of robotics. The implementation of artificial intelligence in machines, influencing their operation, is part of this evolution. 

Used in most industries, in home life, or even in educational environments, robotics occupies an important place in the global economy. Over the past few years, various innovations have been made in this field, notably thanks to the use of AI. So what is the role of artificial intelligence in the functioning of robots? Let’s break it down.

AI and robotics: two related but distinct fields

For several decades, the use of robotic technology has been a reality for many companies. This field is constantly evolving, providing solutions to specific problems in business and industry. One of the innovations introduced in recent years is the use of artificial intelligence in robotics. For the general public, these domains may seem similar. Although there are points of convergence between the two, they are actually two distinct concepts. 

Robotics refers to an industrial field responsible for the study, analysis, design, and development of autonomous machines or robots (6-axis robotic arms, cobots, AMRs, humanoid robots, etc.). Equipped with increased precision, these are used for executing specific and recurring tasks, or even complex activities. As for artificial intelligence, it refers to the process of simulating human intelligence through software and computer programs.

The goal of AI is to mimic the way humans think and act through a computer. Artificial intelligence technologies thus aim at automating processes and tasks that require human resources.

Once combined, robotics and artificial intelligence offer multiple benefits in different fields: the manufacturing industry, education and research, healthcare, etc.

What role does AI play in robotics?

Robots increasingly benefit from the capabilities brought by AI, making their performance more enhanced. In terms of robotics, artificial intelligence allows a robot to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence using specific software. These tasks include visual recognition, natural language understanding, and decision-making.

Various means enable the integration of AI into robotics:

  • Artificial intelligence, based on the development of machines capable of mimicking what makes humans unique, namely their intelligence;
  • Machine learning or automatic learning, is capable of mimicking behavior through algorithms fueled by large amounts of data;
  • Deep learning uses neural networks composed of successive layers of data to learn concepts and create algorithms.

 

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Which robots are equipped with artificial intelligence?

The implementation of AI in robots (mobile robots, humanoid robots, collaborative robots, etc.) increases their capabilities. These devices contribute to improving companies’ innovation capabilities and transforming their operations. Different types of robots can now be equipped with AI technology. 

  •  Robotic arms: A robotic arm refers to a programmable machine whose functions are similar to those of a human arm. In the industrial sector, robotic systems enable the automation of certain tasks: grasping objects, handling, welding, or transferring parts. Robotic arms are also used in the education and research sectors. Equipped with AI technologies, these articulated robots perform tasks much faster and with more precision. Visual sensors like a 2D or 3D camera transmit information necessary for artificial intelligence systems. With this data, robots segment and understand scenes, allowing them to detect and classify objects.
  • Autonomous mobile robots: This type of robot stands out for its ability to understand and move within its environment autonomously. The integration of AI into AMR robots allows them to gather information through 3D cameras and LiDAR. After analyzing this data, the machine makes inferences based on the environment and the overall mission. Moreover, artificial intelligence optimizes the robot’s movements and actions to achieve better results.
  • Cobots: Cobotics refers to a form of work organization that optimizes collaboration between humans and robots. Collaborative robots, or cobots, are designed to reduce work fatigue and the risk of accidents in the industrial world. In some cases, this type of robot operates by reacting to human gestures and learning from them. Equipped with AI technology, collaborative robots can respond to and learn from human speech and movements without worker-assisted training.

What are the advantages of combining AI and robotics?

Integrating AI into an existing operation or operating model may be intimidating. However, by bringing various innovations, the combination of AI and robotics offers multiple advantages to each user (companies, industry, researchers, universities, healthcare institutions, etc.). 

  • Improvement of robotics learning: In the world of education and learning, using a robot equipped with AI technologies allows for both strengthening skills related to robotics and artificial intelligence. Various exercises involving AI robotic arms can be performed. Among the possible applications of AI in the field of robotics training and research is the reproduction of robot movements with AI.
  • Optimization of company productivity: Faced with customers’ demands for delivery speed and quality, companies strive to be more productive. To reduce the risks of employee fatigue and injury, AI-equipped robots have their place in companies. Thanks to their vision and understanding of their environment, this equipment can perform complex tasks. Robots equipped with AI can thus get rid of time-consuming and tedious tasks such as inventory checking. The same goes for checking the quality of goods on the production line or quality control on assembly lines.

Adopting this type of robot saves time at each stage of the process. Equipment with AI technologies makes manufacturing companies much more efficient, whether in terms of productivity or product quality.