Say hello to your newest employee Baxter. He stands three feet, one-inch tall and weighs 165 pounds. He’s dependable and works well on teams and alone. He’s very productive especially performing tasks most employees don’t like to do such as stocking shelves and order picking. He doesn’t take breaks or vacation and doesn’t require health care and retirement benefits. He costs only about $3 per hour, less than half a minimum wage. Best of all he can work 24 hours per day, and seven days each week without violating labor laws!
The year 2014 may be remembered as the year robots entered the workforce in mass. Despite a very slow evolution, robots have become affordable. They may finally begin taking over the “three-D” jobs — dirty, dangerous, and dull — that most people do not ordinarily want to do. These are the same jobs that have been most challenging to fill and keep filled for companies in many industries.
Trends Magazine compares this robotic evolution to the introduction of the Model-T, which made automobiles affordable to the general public. Likewise, the Apple II personal computer opened up computing to everyday people. The introduction of two affordable commercial robots – Baxter and UBR1 — will allow even small and medium sized companies to adopt robotics and integrate them into their manufacturing and distribution processes.