The implicit goal of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is to produce human-level intelligence. In its current state, AI is not advanced enough to be able to claim human-level intelligence, empathy, or possession of several fundamental qualities that make people human. Building a humanoid robot is the challenge par excellence for artificial intelligence and robot designers. Current advances in many fields prove that it is practical to make serious attempts at this goal. The ongoing research has thrown light on many new fundamental problem areas and has provided new directions for research toward the ultimate goal.
With AI capabilities to enhance over time, the future of Humanoids seems bright. Improvements in AI means that speech recognition will improve, computer vision will get better, and simultaneous localization and mapping will improve to help the device move around fluidly. Furthermore, the robot will be able to translate languages or have a dialog within specific domains. The human edge is anticipated to be in creativity and social interaction. Therefore, the focus is needed on robotics development toward what they seem to be good at – repetitive tasks, utilitarian value creation, and optimization. Some robots developed in recent years run on AI, which allows them to operate independently, learn from surroundings, and interact with people.
Artificial Intelligence in Humanoids
The AI phenomenon in humanoids gained pace when Sophia, created by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, was activated in April 2015. The robot was designed as a model of actress Audrey Hepburn and it has more than 60 distinct facial mechanisms to create natural-looking expressions. Since 2017, Sophia has garnered popularity through numerous public appearances and has been embraced by media around the world, and has taken part in many high-profile conversations. Moreover, In October 2017, the robot was bestowed with Saudi Arabian citizenship, becoming the first robot to acquire citizenship of any country. Also, in November 2017, Sophia was announced as the UN’s Development Programme’s Innovation Champion, the first non-human to get such title. During interactions, interviewers seemed to be surprised by the sophistication of Sophia’s responses to their questions at many levels. However, the majority of its meaningful statements are believed by experts to be scripted.
In addition, developments in AI coupled with humanoids can lead to increase in the adoption of these devices as service robots. The International Federation of Robotics said that in the United States, the service robot industry is a USD 5.2 billion market, which includes both industrial and domestic sectors. It also predicts that domestic robots will contribute USD 11 billion in revenue by 2020.
Humanoids in Industries/Manufacturing
Furthermore, owing to the advanced nature of robots, the production of industrial robotics has increased over the years. It is also expected that humanoids will play a significant role in the industry and are expected to perform manufacturing works and various other tasks. In 2016, Airbus Group began a four-year research project to examine the practicability of humanoid robots in aerospace manufacturing. The aviation segment is still in the initial stages compared to the automotive industry, due to certain technical complexities, and reduced economies of scale involved in aircraft assembly, limiting the penetration of automation in the industry. If the initiative taken by Airbus produces the desired results, the demand for humanoids in manufacturing is expected to increase.
The report also examines the role of the leading market players involved in the industry. Some of the key players listed in the study are:
Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
Kawada Robotics Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation
Ubtech Robotics Inc.