App. B—Commissioned Background Papers .
Mitchell Hutchins Inc.
The ability of
the robot to interface includes the ability to
with large, computer controlled manufacturing create a task description without the neces-
sity of using a robot’s actual motion. also ease the actual programing task.
The development of off-line programing would
Further, the key to better robots lies in vastly improved electronics and software,
in the future are likely to plastics rather than metal.
Spread processes such as coating techniques.
Mechanisms and material handling.
This suggests that robots have all the characteristics of a high technology industry:
High levels of R&D
spending are a must, with 7-10% the semiconductor industry.)
The vast number of technologies involved suggest that joint ventures are likely to occur for advancing the state of the art in robots:
Unimation’s PUMA robot was developed in a joint venture
Cybotech has been formed as a joint and Ransburg, hopefully to develop a of two companies together.
venture corporation by Renault robot by bringing the expertise
Significant R&D will be done by academia This is particularly true in sensors and done by RPI, Purdue, UCLA, Florida State of Rhode Island, etc.
with support help from companies. some vision work is currently being (Gainesville), Stanford, University
R&D ability is fast becoming a barrier to entry in the robot field.
it is likely
for proprietary technology to be much more important than patent protection, major technological fields dominated by software and electronics.
Similar to the
Learning Curve Pricing Key to
The heavy emphasis on computers,
electronics and software as the key method of adapting
general low the
purpose robots for characteristics of
specific application suggests high technology industries.
that the pricing of robots Currently, we estimate that
will fol- around 30%
of the cost of a robot is more sophisticated models.
the electronics and software, with Hence, we believe that the learning
even a higher percentage for the
important to robotics, and prices should fall major manufacturers introduced its robot line times of the past few years, selling prices
as volume increases.
For example, one of the
have remained essentially unchanged, implying an
estimated 30% price reduction in real terms --directly related to the sharp volume increases.
While the base price of robots is likely to decline,
increase over the next five years. more extensive accessories such as
This reflects that sensors and vision.
the average price per unit is likely to robots will probably be equipped with Assuming technological advancement and
learning curve pricing, we believe that the robot industry during the 1980s could achieve a revenue growth upwards of 35% (cyclically), with industry revenues estimated at $500-600 mil– Lion by 1985 and approaching-$2 billion by 1990.