Published: July 6, 2022
The age of technology we live in is truly remarkable. In recent years, robotics has reached new heights. Many different types of robots exist in the realm of modern science, and in this article, we’ll be exploring a few of them.
If that sounds interesting to you, keep reading!
What Is a Robot?
A robot is, at its core, a machine programmed to perform complex tasks automatically. It can be guided by some external device (i.e., remote control), or the commands may come from within its system.
The primary purpose of these machines is to replicate or completely substitute human actions. However, with the development of pop culture, robots have gained some quite exaggerated traits that sometimes blur the lines between reality and science fiction.
Despite this, robots are becoming more and more present in our lives. They’re used extensively in manufacturing and other industrial applications. However, they’re also starting to appear in our homes, schools, and even hospitals.
So, let’s explore some robots that you may encounter today.
Common Robot Types
It’s difficult to determine the exact number of types, given the complexity of today’s robotics. For example, industrial robots alone are over three million. However, predominantly, robots are classified into seven general types categories.
1. Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
The first group on our list is autonomous robots. AMRs are the type of robots that can move independently by analyzing the environment they’re in and navigating through it.
They operate using sophisticated systems, such as sensors, machine learning, and AI, also known as cognitive computing, to make calculations.
These types of robots require minimal or no human input. They can significantly enhance workplace safety by performing tasks that would otherwise be too dangerous for people.
They can increase job flexibility by performing tasks with almost no supervision required. Ultimately, these robots can significantly enhance overall productivity and efficiency by letting human workers focus on assignments of higher importance.
They found use mainly in manufacturing spaces and warehouses and are also known as industrial robots.
2. Pre-Programmed Robots
Out of all types of robots used today, the majority of pre-programmed robots can be found in factories and other controlled environments.
The main idea behind them is that they’re programmed to perform a task with a possible scenario. Therefore, performing any other task beyond the scope of the programming of these robots isn’t possible because the robot simply wouldn’t know what to do.
They are exact but relatively simple, as they have no need for using complex machine learning algorithms or artificial intelligence.
One of the most popular examples of this type is mechanical hands used to build cars in factories.
3. Teleoperated Robots
In order for these robots to operate successfully, they need to be controlled remotely by humans. This can be achieved through a wire, wireless network, or satellite.
These robots found their use in extreme conditions, whether those be geographical, weather, or some other circumstances.
It’s one of the types of robots used in the military, as they can be controlled from distant military bases. One of such examples is drones that detect landmines directly on the battlefield.
They also found use in the medical field, where they allow professionals to prescribe diagnoses, provide treatment and even perform surgeries across the distance using telecommunication networks.
4. Humanoid Robots
This type is an inspiration to many sci-fi media pieces and is most often the first one that comes to mind when someone mentions a robot. It’s also a clear example of how fast technology is advancing.
These robots are designed to perform activities humans are capable of performing, such as carrying objects, walking, running, and jumping. They can look relatively simple or resemble humans completely, even having a realistic face.
Many of these can also be considered AMRs. They use many of the same mechanisms to plan out their actions and sense the environmental conditions.
5. Augmenting Robots
One of the types of robots that help humans the most are certainly the augmenting ones. These ones are created to either enhance some human characteristics or replace those they’ve lost.
These might seem like something that’ll only be available in some distant future, but efforts have already been made in this field of robotics. For example, robotic prosthetic limbs have already been implemented, and scientists are using them in the medical field today.
6. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV)
Unlike AMRs that rely on their sensors and algorithms to roam freely, automated guided vehicles have their own designated paths and need human supervision as Tesla cars do.
These are also used for delivering materials and transferring objects in factories and other similar environments.
It’s not an unusual industry practice to combine different types of robots into a single machine. For example, AMRs can be combined with pre-programmed robots to create various industrial robots used for handling packages in warehouses.
By doing so, the capabilities of the newly created machine are even further enhanced, making even more computing possible.
Uses of Various Types of Robots
The main idea behind robots is to enhance the results of performing specific tasks while having the work cut out for human labor. That way, employees can focus on more critical tasks and leave those simpler, more monotonous ones to machines.
Many industries, especially those dealing with manufacturing, have relied on robots in order to maximize their business results.
Some types, such as AMRs and pre-programmed ones, have l shown remarkable results in increasing the efficiency of work and productivity of people.
Many robot types have found their purpose in the world of healthcare. They’re mainly used to help doctors make the patients feel comfortable and maximize the effectiveness of using healthcare services.
Robots used in this field can assist in delivering proper medication, clean and disinfect hospital surfaces, or allow doctors to provide telepresence when necessary through a mobile machine.
Many kinds of automated machines, though predominantly AMRs, regularly help farmers with harvests. These robots can examine the ripeness of fruit, clear branches and leaves, and pick up the crops.
Many advanced types of robots that help humans can take care of logistics for them. This kind of help primarily implies assisting companies with shipping products more efficiently.
The robots use various algorithms to process items, speed up the overall process, and maximize accuracy. AMRs can also help ensure safe delivery to customers.
Robotics has proven effective in maximizing customer satisfaction in a lot of ways. They’re great at automating inventory processes, providing certain caretaker services, cleaning, and helping customers or visitors with their luggage.
Overall, robots are beneficial in today’s technology-driven world. Be it completely automated and completely mobile, or controlled and stationary, there are many types of robots and their uses.
We don’t know how robotics will progress in the future, but we can be sure things will develop fast, and many more types of machines will see the light of day.
What are 5 different types of robots?
According to some sources, there are five main categories — autonomous, pre-programmed, humanoid, teleoperated, and augmenting robots. However, this classification can vary depending on which technical source is consulted.
What types of robots are used in the military?
The military found great use in incorporating robotics into their everyday operations. The types of machines they use the most include transportation, search and rescue, firefighting, mine clearance, surveillance, and armed military robots.
Does robotics include robot software?
Robot software includes various programs such as web crawlers and different kinds of chatbots. However, since these can only operate on the internet and don’t exist in the physical form, they’re not considered to be part of robotics.