We’ve known for a while that the robots are coming, but now we have some hard numbers detailing just how many of them there are. According to recent data from the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), 2017 was a record-setting year for robots, with the food industry among the big buyers (hat tip to ZDNet).
According to the A3, during the first nine months of 2017, there were 27,294 orders of robots, valued at roughly $1.473 billion in North America. This is a 14 percent jump in units and a 10 percent rise in dollars over the same period in 2016.
Among those industries ponying up for robots were Metals (54 percent), Automotive Components (42 percent) and Food and Consumer Goods (21 percent).
“Food and Consumer Goods” is a pretty broad category, but we are seeing robots deployed throughout the food chain. From tending crops, to re-stocking grocery shelves, to delivering groceries and flipping burgers.
Don’t expect this growth to slow down in the coming year. Robots work really well for manual, repetitive tasks and giants like Walmart and Amazon really like them. Additionally, the restaurant industry already predicts that robots will become mainstream by 2025.
If the GOP tax bill becomes law (which looks likely), corporations will have more money to spend and there’s a good chance that will go towards more robots and automation. With all that, 2017’s record year for robots could seem paltry in 2018.