Robotics industry still in its infancy

Nov 12, 2012

You may have seen videos of robots interacting humans in laboratories and wondered when we'll see those robots on store shelves. One industry expert says that moment is closer than you think.

The robotics industry is still in its infancy. Remember where personal computers were in 1980? Like that.

Peter Singer is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. focusing on robotics and the defense industry. He says robots are around us more than we think - in things like automated manufacturing, or cars that parallel park themselves.

"These are all robotic things; we just don't like to call it robots," said Singer. "Which is much the same - you know, I drive a car that has a hundred computers in it. I don't call it a computerized car. That's when you know it's really made it. When they're around you and you don't even notice anymore."

Singer says we're only just starting to get to that point with robots, and it's still decades away before the time when they will be as commonplace as your computer.

Cost and legal issues could both factor into the timeline, but Singer says he doesn't see any one particular hurdle to making robots commonplace.