According to a study by the Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) and Redwood Software, when it comes to investing in the research and development necessary to advance robotics automation, the United States is the world leader. The U.S. has an estimated robotics stock of $732 billion — which, by way of comparison, is more than Switzerland’s entire economy for the year 2015.
“The U.S. is the world leader in robotics investment, and spending has recovered quickly since the financial crisis in 2009,” David Whitaker, Managing Economist at CEBR, said in a press release. “The sheer size of the economy and its large base of production in the automotive and electronic sectors make it a natural candidate for increased automation.”
Dennis Walsh, Redwood’s president for Americas and Asia-Pacific explained: “The U.S. industrial sector is leading the world in its use of robotics right across its operations. We increasingly see corporations apply the value of robotics not only in their assembly line, but also in areas such as supply chain and finance departments.”
Job displacement due to automation is a hot button issue. While some may not fear their jobs could be vulnerable to robot replacements, workers in many blue and white-collar industries worry about what the future holds. A point which Walsh touched upon in Redwood’s press release.
“Robotics and automation in manufacturing has been a contentious topic in the last 12 months.”
This has, however, lead to discussions about how to best prepare for the seemingly inevitable disruption in employment robots will cause. The CEBR study suggests one solution is for robots to work side-by-side human employees, “There is clear evidence that points towards robotic automation in many cases being a complement for human labor, rather than a direct substitute,” Whitaker said. Furthermore, “Robotic automation is increasing the total number of jobs available – but it is also changing them,” Redwood Software’s Neil Kinson said.
Aside from increasing efficiency and productivity, robotics is also giving the world economy a significant boost. In the last five years, robotics has contributed as much as 10 percent to global GDP growth. “The research shows that the sector is one of the best places to invest today, and the returns are likely to improve as time goes on,” said Walsh.