Robots and Artificial Intelligence: Revolutionizing Business for the Better
The idea of robots powered by artificial intelligence has fascinated and ignited our imaginations for decades. Today, robotics ideas that were once science fiction are becoming reality for many businesses.
Companies are using AI-powered robots to bring humans and technology closer together, solve problems, and transform their business models to meet changing demands.
For example, AI-enabled robots greet customers in stores and provide them with personalized information and directions. They harvest ripe vegetables in farm fields and serve made-to-order lattes in coffee shops. In industrial settings, AI-enabled robots keep workers safe by operating in shared spaces. They also perform complex tasks such as cutting, grinding, welding and inspection autonomously.
What Are AI-Powered Robots?
AI-powered robots are augmented with a variety of sensors (including vision devices such as 2D/3D cameras, vibration sensors, proximity sensors, accelerometers, and other environmental sensors,) that feed them with sensing data they can analyze and act upon in real-time.
To better understand what AI-enabled robots are, it’s important to understand what makes them intelligent.
Artificial intelligence refers to a broad class of systems that enable machines to mimic advanced human capabilities. There are several ways to achieve AI, as shown in the diagram below.
When augmented with AI, robots can help businesses innovate and transform their operations. Today’s most common types of robots powered by AI include:
Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
As AMRs move through their environments, AI enables them to:
- Capture information through 3D cameras and LiDAR sensors
- Analyze the gathered information
- Make inferences based on their environment and overall mission
- Move or act to deliver the best outcome
Depending on the industry, the tasks and actions completed by AI-empowered AMRs vary widely. For example, when moving inventory from one point to another in a warehouse, AMRs can avoid collisions by navigating around human workers or fallen boxes while simultaneously determining the optimal path for task completion. Learn more about AMRs and how they are being used.
Articulated Robots (Robotic Arms)
AI allows articulated robots to perform tasks faster and more accurately. AI technologies infer information from vision sensors, such as 2D/3D cameras, to segment and understand scenes as well as detect and classify objects. Learn more about articulated robots and robotic arms.
AI allows cobots to respond to and learn from human speech and gestures without worker-assisted training.
Learn more about the different types of robots and how they’re used across various industries.
Benefits of Integrating AI
While integrating artificial intelligence with an existing operation or business model appears overwhelming at first, the benefits realized typically far outweigh the challenges experienced.
Increased Productivity and Efficiency
Companies today are juggling more demands than ever before. Customers want faster delivery. Stakeholders want higher productivity and increased efficiency. And workers want to contribute without fatigue or injury. AI robots are helping on all fronts. They perform repetitive or time-consuming tasks, such as checking inventory and alerting staff to out-of-stock or misplaced items in retail environments. This expedites product delivery, improves productivity, and frees human workers to take on higher-level, less physically taxing tasks, such as looking for ways to improve processes, troubleshooting AMR issues, or developing new ideas.
Improved Quality and Accuracy
AI robots can see and understand their environments, which enables them to complete complex tasks such as quality-control inspections on assembly lines. In industrial applications, AI robots can check the quality of goods inline, instead of delaying the task to the end of the process—saving time and money for the manufacturer. Read how Audi partnered with Intel and Nebbiolo Technologies to boost weld inspections and enhance quality-control processes with Intel-enabled robotic arms, machine learning, and predictive analytics.1
Enhanced Worker Safety
AI robots play a major role in improving workplace safety. Companies in the oil and gas sector often use them to perform data collection or safety inspection tasks in dangerous environments to reduce risk to humans. And because AI-enabled robots can learn from human gestures and speech, they’re able to continuously improve their ability to complete their tasks while safely working alongside employees.
AI Robot Capabilities
To make a robot truly intelligent, several critical capabilities are required.
Robotics and Machine Learning
Machine learning is critical to AI robots’ ability to learn and progressively get better at task execution. Machine learning for robots enables the robots to use real-time data and contextual information acquired through their experiences to develop new learning pathways and capabilities. This allows the robots to solve new and unique problems as they encounter them in their environments.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Natural language processing (NLP) is a type of artificial intelligence that enables a robot to understand human language as it is spoken. AI robots with NLP typically complete tasks that involve:
- Answering questions posed by humans
- Speech recognition
- Determining speech sentiment
NLP enables AI robots in retail, healthcare, and hospitality to directly interface with customers at touchless kiosks, serve as virtual assistants in banks to minimize human-to-human contact, or entertain residents in retirement communities.
Conversational AI uses data, NLP, and machine learning to take an AI robot’s interaction capabilities with humans to the next level. The goal of using conversational AI with AMRs or humanoid robots is to offer more human-like interactions between people and computers. With every interaction, the robot will capture dialogue, process it, respond, and learn in anticipation of the next interaction. For example, Lee’s Famous Chicken Restaurants in Ohio faced an employee shortage and began using a conversational AI solution to greet drive-thru customers, answer questions about menu items, and take orders.
Intel® AI Technologies
Intel’s interoperable technologies are key to equipping robots with AI so they can intelligently sense, plan, and act.
With hardware built for IoT, AI software that’s purpose-built for mobile robot applications, and a global partner ecosystem, Intel provides the foundational building blocks for robot builders to create connected, intelligent, and reliable robotics solutions.
Our processors enhanced for IoT, AI accelerators, and VPUs provide the essential compute capabilities that all AI robots need for intelligent, autonomous operation.
Intel® RealSense™ products give smart robots their ability to perceive their surroundings and understand objects.
And the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit gives developers the tools and prebuilt components to streamline development of comprehensive AI inference capabilities. Intel® oneAPI —our cross-industry, open, standards-based unified programming model—provides developers with one common development experience across accelerator architectures. This allows them to realize the full value of hardware application performance, enable more predictability, and deliver innovation.
Intel-powered machine vision solutions for Industry 4.0 bring together hardware, software, and partner technologies to power the machine vision, smart manufacturing, and industrial control systems critical to robotics solutions.
With Intel® AI technologies and Intel® Vision Products that are tuned for low-latency inference, businesses can bring AI to robots and other edge devices.
Intel® AI Technologies Enable the Next Era of Robotics
Innovative companies across the globe are using robotics with AI to not only solve some of the world’s biggest challenges but also address industry- and business-specific issues such as efficiency, productivity, and worker safety. With a robust portfolio of robotics and AI technologies, Intel is ready to help companies revolutionize their business.