10 Trends That Shaped the Robotics Industry in 2022

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Attendees eagerly return to robotics events

Pent-up demand, the desire to evaluate products and partners in person, and relaxed travel and COVID-19 restrictions led to a resurgence in robotics events this past year.

In March, more than 37,000 people attended MODEX 2022 in Atlanta, according to the Materials Handling Institute (MHI). That was 20% more than in 2018, the MHI told Trade Show Executive. ProMat 2023 will be in Chicago in March, followed by MODEX 2024.

At this year’s event, attendees, exhibitors, and speakers told us that they were just happy to be back out in the world, two years after global shutdowns followed right after MODEX 2020.

In June, the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) reported 24,000 registrants for Automate 2022 in Detroit. Unlike its normal biennial cadence, the organization is preparing for the next Automate in May 2023.

A3 also said its Automomous Mobile Robots (AMR) and Logistics Conference in Boston had 650 attendees. The co-located Vision Show had 3,000 attendees, a 12% increase over the previous record set in 2016.

In October, PACK EXPO International registered more than 44,000 attendees in Chicago. The event will return in September 2023 in Las Vegas. Speaking of Las Vegas, CES expects over 100,000 attendees next month.

These and smaller events across North America reported healthy crowds with attendees ready to do business. In addition to supply chain and manufacturing, uncrewed systems, technical and safety standards, and investor/startup gatherings also garnered interest.

International events also resumed as travel restrictions eased, including Hannover Messe in Germany, ICRA in Philadelphia, and ROSCon in Kyoto, Japan. The resurgence of illness late in the year led to some uncertainty, but full shutdowns outside of China are unlikely.

While there were relatively few brand-new products at most of these events, we did observe incremental advances, a maturing understanding of viable robotics applications, and more software to tie automation to enterprise systems and data.

For more coverage of these events and more, see Robotics 24/7’s Special Coverage page.

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1. Attendees eagerly return to robotics events

2. Consolidation continues

3. Layoffs took their toll

4. E-commerce demands come off of COVID highs

5. Self-driving cars hit potholes

6. Interoperability initiatives move forward

7. Humanoid robots take strides

8. Autonomous trucks roll onward

9. Cobots get stronger, expand into new industries

10. Delivery robots hit more college campuses

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