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‘Considerable boost’ for robotics expected after COVID-19

Research from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) suggests that the Coronavirus crisis will accelerate the adoption of robotics and automation, resulting in a net-increase in jobs.

The IFR argues that, in contradiction to the perception that robots destroy jobs, the adoption of robotics and automation has increased both the overall quantity and quality of jobs in industry.

Between 2013 and 2018, the number of robots in use in companies around the world increased by around two thirds, to 2.4 million. In this time, research in the US showed that employment in the country’s automotive industry - by far the largest adopter of robots - increased by 22 per cent.

The IFR cited research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which shows that companies who employ technology effectively are ten times more productive than those who do not.

Milton Guerry, President of the IFR, explained:

“The impact of automation on employment is not in any respect different from previous waves of technology-driven change. Productivity increases and competitive advantages of automation don´t replace jobs – they will automate tasks, augment jobs and create new ones.”

According to the IFR, levels of automation in industry are likely to increase in the post-COVID-19 economy:

“Companies around the globe are reassessing their global supply chain business models in reaction to the lessons learned from Coronavirus. This will likely accelerate the introduction of robots, leading to a renaissance of industrial production in some regions – and bringing back jobs. After the crisis, IFR expects a considerable boost for robotics and automation, even if the industry cannot currently decouple itself from the economic downturn.”

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