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The robotics market continues to experience a profound and significant restructuring as the traditional industrial robotics sector continues to shrink as an overall percentage of the total robotics industry. According to Tractica's estimates, non-industrial robots represented 70% of the $39.3 billion robotics market globally in 2017, growing from a 64% share in 2016. Most of this growth is being driven by segments like consumer, enterprise, healthcare, military, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and autonomous vehicles. Consequences of this shift are already beginning to play out, evidenced by the recent acquisition of traditional industrial robot company KUKA by Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Midea.
The epicenter of robotics continues to shift from the traditional centers of Japan and Europe toward the emerging artificial intelligence (AI) hotbeds of Silicon Valley and China. AI technologies like deep learning, computer vision, and natural language processing (NLP) are revolutionizing autonomy and UI/UX capabilities in robots.
China is already a powerhouse in industrial robotics with 60% of the revenue share, however the Chinese government has plans in place that put it on a trajectory to lead the market for non-industrial robots by 2025. Tractica anticipates that China will be the leading market for consumer robots, enterprise robots, and autonomous vehicles by 2025. This trend is in line with China's goal of becoming the leading player in AI, for which it is establishing a foundation that includes home-grown AI semiconductor companies, robust software, and hardware platforms that can leverage AI in a range of commercial hardware products, and a scalable ecosystem of large and small companies that feed into the cycle of innovation. Apart from the rise of China, there are a number of other significant trends that are likely to reshape the robotics market, with 16 of the 23 robot categories expected to be multi-billion-dollar markets by 2025.