Autonomous robotics has become a popular topic in the industry. On episode 9 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we were joined by Nicholas Zylberglajt, Co-Founder and CEO of Unmanned Life to talk about the advances the company is making in the autonomous robotics space. Nicholas is a leader with more than 15 years of international experience, and with a focus on the technology and entrepreneurship space, he has been shortlisted as one of the 12 Most Impressive CEOs in the autonomous vehicle space, while Unmanned Life has been shortlisted as a top company in the same category.
What’s your take on the current state of autonomous robotics?
The autonomous robotics industry is booming. Where we are today, post COVID, social acceptance has totally changed the narrative around autonomous robots. People were saying ‘robots are going to take my job’, but now the narrative is that robots are helping us solve certain problems, making work safer in areas that we cannot reach etc, etc. Combined with the economy needing to become more efficient, and robots becoming more cost efficient, the robotics market is booming. For a company like us, now is a perfect moment for the rollout of autonomous robotics. So social acceptance, pricing of autonomous robots going down and improvements of the overall infrastructure has allowed a massive deployment of robotics. Even with the tech downturn that we saw last year, the valuations for robotics companies did not go down, they went up. All these trends are happening at once, so the robotics market really is booming.
What’s more important for the growth of the sector, social acceptance or proven technology?
Social acceptance always needs to be there. Let’s take the example of drones. We have very interesting data coming from regulators, saying that they want drone delivery to be used more widely, but they want this to be done safely. If we are deploying drones, we are always abiding by the rules and regulations. Although they are cumbersome, these will allow us to become much more socially accepted. For me, social acceptance always needs to come first. The trend in terms of the market being ready and the deployment infrastructure, that’s something that we cannot force. It has to happen as the wider world is ready for it.
Which autonomous robotics use case are you most excited about for the future?
I would say that the security of premises, search and rescue for first responders, and anything else that is making jobs safer, more efficient, or enhancing human work is what excites me the most. For example, with first responders, you have the concept of the golden hour with wildfires. The concept is that if you intervene in the first hour, you can save lives. If you can deploy robots, or drones in this case, quickly enough that firefighters can have situational awareness, you can save lives, and you can save costs.
We are working with the telecom operators and partners to deploy networks of autonomous drones over 5G that will cover wildfire hotspots and that will allow the first responders to intervene within their golden hour. These are tangible use cases that we can work on. Finally on sustainability, you can also use robotics to deploy reforestation, emissions capture, carbon capture and mapping, so you can trace how the progress has happened and monitor the progress of that reforestation. These are all use cases that we are working on with our partners, and our technologies enable.
What will ‘autonomous everything’ look like in the next few decades?
The way that I present our vision is that society will have achieved progress, thanks to autonomous robotics. We need to have the right checks and balances on technology, because where you will have AI and robotics in every single aspect of the economy and society, and it will be safer, more efficient, and faster. But, we need to make sure that’s being monitored. Basically, in all of the use cases I was describing, you can apply that technology in other sectors of the economy by orchestrating different types of robots. Imagine that an intelligent CT was functioning with robotics and intelligent AI – the autonomous everything is when all of these are functioning harmoniously without impacting the progress and cohesion of society.
To learn more about autonomous robotics and the work that Unmanned Life are doing in the space, tune into The Connectivity Matters Podcast here.
We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.