Why do they use robots in the transportation industry?
The transportationation industry has not been slow in adopting robotics and automation, and the rate of acceptance is only going to increase.
The key drivers are similar to why many industries are going in the same direction: cost, shortage of labour and safety.
If you look at the transportation industry, it has five distinct parts:
Air Freight & Logistics
Road & Rail
Transportation Infrastructure (which includes Air Freight & Logistics, Airlines, Marine and Road & Rail)
And much of the workload in the above mini-industries involves shifting goods around. By using robots to replace humans, you make a task more effective, you cut down risks to humans by doing such jobs and also you free humans up to take on other responsibilities.
It’s also the case that many functions within this industry can be automated. Self-driving cars are controversial, yet are the future. The only thing stopping full automation on the roads is the abundance of legacy vehicles and cars, legislative systems which can't work out who’s to blame if a robot has a car accident: the original manufacturer, the owner, or the system itself? And if you have self-driving cars, it follows you can have self-driving lorries and tractors, and self-steering ships and self-flying planes.
And in the latter case of planes, it has been recently forecast that in Asia alone, if the demand for air travel continues, the region will be short of some 50,000 qualified pilots. Perhaps the only solution to that sort of problem is robot pilots.
One thing is for sure though, robots will completely change the face of the transportationation industry over the coming decades.