Robotics as an Economic Growth Engine
The field of robotics will offer new venues of growth for the Israeli high-tech industry
Prof. Zvi Shiller
Robotics, which involves the development of computerized mechanical systems, has applications in many areas of life, including household, medicine, agriculture, logistics, transportation, and education. However, the high entry level for developing robotic systems has slowed its growth in the last four decades. The industry faces typical market failures such as multidisciplinary knowledge requirements, long and expensive development processes, difficulty introducing products to the market, and the availability of an alternative cheaper solution – human labor.
Despite the lack of support from the state, Israel has modestly grown its robotics industry with a worldwide reputation. The number of companies that produce robots as a final product is relatively small, but research activity in academia has focused on several fields such as medical robotics, autonomous vehicles, human-machine interface, robot teams, agriculture, and nursing.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have elevated the importance of the field of robotics to levels unseen in the last 40 years. The sudden need for independence and security has made robotic solutions a necessity. Smart physical systems-based robotic solutions are in demand in the fields of health, nursing, agriculture, industry, logistics, and transportation. The combination of exploding needs, impressive technological progress in the field of robotics, and the increasing application of artificial intelligence brings the field of robotics to a point where it can reach new heights.
Optimistic forecasts for the field of robotics indicate a market size of over $200 billion in 2030 with a growth rate of 12%-14% per year. The market size will be double that since these forecasts are based on existing growth rates and do not take into account new areas of application that will increase the use of robotic systems.
Investment in the field of robotics is expected to offer new venues of growth for the Israeli high-tech industry, which has focused on software and electronics development. The combination of robotics and the Israeli high-tech industry will utilize existing human capital and infrastructure developed over the past thirty years.
The Israeli Robotics Association proposes the creation of a National Robotics Institute to accelerate the entry of Israeli industry into the field of robotics. The institute would serve as a platform for multidisciplinary knowledge sharing, research and development, and incubation of startups. The Robotics Association believes that with quick action and the exploitation of Israeli industry’s prominent advantages in entering new fields, Israel can position itself among the leaders of the Robotics 3.0 revolution that focuses on smart robots that combine hardware and artificial intelligence.