Kawada Technologies Inc

Sunday 22nd February 2015

Number of Robots Booming in Japan

If you are a human who works at the Kawada factory outside Tokyo, most of your coworkers are robots. On the assembly line, the company’s uber-advanced, human-looking robots can do the work of three people. They can also make you a decent cup of coffee.

In another Tokyo suburb, a cartoonesque robot named Pepper, the first robot designed to respond to human emotions, is joking with customers at a store selling mobile phones.

While Japan has been a robot-friendly place for a long time, the number of robots is now booming, even as its human population is not. In the next five years, the country hopes to build 20 times more of them.

Though robots aren’t new on factory floors, new advancements mean that they’re suddenly poised to play a significant role. “The cost of robots has been declining over a few years, they’ve been getting cheaper, but you’re also seeing a performance increase,” Zinser explains. “We’re at a point now in many industries, and many different kinds of tasks, where you’re starting to reach an inflection point. Price and performance is actually at a threshold where it makes sense for a manufacturer to deploy that robot today than it would to pay for human labor.”

This isn’t only happening in Japan. The U.S. is projected to purchase around 1.2 million robots in the next decade. Other countries that have lost manufacturing because of higher wages hope to start to bringing factories back—potentially leading to other benefits, like reduced shipping distances – Adele Peters

 

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