The UN ECE has a fascinating report out on the rise of robots world-wide. Here are two highlights:
How many robots are now working out there in industry?
Worldwide at least 800,000 units (possibly the real stock could be well over one million units), of which 350,000 in Japan, close to 250,000 in the European Union and about 112,000 in North America. In Europe, Germany is in the lead with 112,700 units, followed by Italy with 50,000, France with 26,000, Spain with 20,000 and the United Kingdom with 14,000.
Are we seeing any service robots in our homes?
At the end of 2003, about 610,000 autonomous vacuum cleaners and lawn-mowing robots were in operation. In 2004- 2007, more than 4 million new units are forecasted to be added.