Over the last decade, huge strides have been made in robotics, some of the biggest by the robots themselves. Robots have long been a dream of futurists, and it appears the robotic revolution may be finally around the corner.
The biggest advancements in the field have not been in hardware, however, but in software. Though there have been numerous hardware advances to be sure, many are just evolutions of existing designs or new efficiencies gained from the use of newer materials. The software that is powering the robots and helping them make decisions is where the largest leaps forward have been made.
This has led software programmers from around the globe into the world of robotics, to program the silicone brains that will revolutionize our future. Here is a quick guide to the different sectors of the robotics industry that any software engineer could find a career in.
Self-driving vehicles are just around the corner, so to speak. The advent of electric vehicles has brought a huge development in the technology that goes into cars, and the self-driving vehicle market is set to explode both for private users and for the public transport industry.
Some of the world's largest tech companies, as well as the major motor manufacturers, have begun to pour billions of dollars into the development of autonomous automobiles. This has created a surge in demand for qualified and experienced software engineers as this massive new sector opens up in robotics.
Robots for Entertainment
Robots have been used for entertainment for a long time. Even basic robots at theme parks require a lot of computer programming, and you would be surprised at how much coding goes into programming life-size animatronic dinosaurs for natural history museums and nature parks.
The robots used for entertainment often perform complex feats and tasks and must do so reliably while being watched by a paying audience. The demand for competent coders and software developers in this sector yields high salaries for the engineers capable of doing the job.
Military Service Robotics
The militaries of the world have been interested in using robots as a part of their forces since the early 1960s. Robotics has played a role in the field ever since, in areas like bomb disposal and ammunition loading. Now, technology is allowing robots to work side by side with uniformed soldiers on deployments.
Robots are now being trialed with military units, to be used as electric mules to transport supplies and ammunition across difficult terrain. Soon robots may be armed and used for patrols and defensive engagements.
It seems assured that robots will be playing a big part in the future of humanity. But we only see the exterior and it is easy to forget about the software underneath that makes them function. The complex algorithms and calculations that help a robot to assess its surroundings, make decisions and complete its tasks, requires the hard work of computer programmers. This emerging industry offers great opportunities for a software professional to make their own leap, to the next level of their career.
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