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Robotic Exoskeleton Revenue will Reach $5.8 Billion

CIOs and CTOs are searching to find the information and guidance they need to increase opportunities and minimize risk when employing robotics technologies. Many now desire to create new markets and product categories, open additional lines of business, enhance existing product lines, invest in or acquire start-up companies, or create robotics innovation labs.

Across a range of applications, exoskeletons are increasingly being introduced to augment human capability -- for assistive purposes in the workplace, and for enabling or rehabilitative purposes in the healthcare market.

Exoskeleton Market Development

According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, as of 2018, global shipments will reach 7 thousand units with a hardware revenue of $192 million.

However, total shipments are expected to reach over 91 thousand by 2023 and 301 thousand by 2028. As a result, global revenue for the suits is now forecast to reach $5.8 billion in 2028.

"The market gets healthier with each passing month. The culmination of start-up activity, an increasingly permissive regulatory environment, improving drive and materials technology, and partnerships with larger corporations suggest the exo-market is in the best position it has ever been,” said Rian Whitton, research analyst at ABI Research.

Until very recently, Exoskeletons have been something of a novelty, but now advancements in the technology have made numerous new applications viable within developed economies.

For example, power consumption has been a longstanding problem and now the efficiency of battery technology has extended the viable use-time for powered exo-suits.

Also, considering that the aging population and systemic skills shortage in developed countries is forcing companies to invest more in the workforce they already have, exoskeletons will become a force-multiplier in improving productivity, and in avoiding and mitigating against injuries.

In the long run, their adoption will save billions of dollars of waste every year accrued from lost hours due to physical injury. That said, the future value of exoskeletons is not limited to industrial apps. Rehabilitation-focused exoskeletons showcase their potential in the global healthcare market.

Now though, the momentum for exoskeletons is in the workspace. Sarcos Robotics, which plans to release its full-body exoskeleton in 2019, is targeting most industrial markets, from manufacturing and warehousing to construction and extraction.

So far, the distribution is tilted heavily towards industrial and commercial applications. The industrial market for exoskeletons -- including manufacturing, construction, utilities etc. -- is expected to reach revenues of $2.8 billion by 2028. Meanwhile, commercial use-cases (including health and warehouse logistics) will reach $2 billion.

But there are barriers to adoption. Exoskeletons are still expensive and the deployment of these complex systems requires further partnerships between OEM’s, distributors and service providers.

According to the ABI assessment, more work needs to be done in creating modular exoskeleton platforms that can be retrofitted with a range of capable end-effectors to widen market appeal.

Outlook for Exoskeleton Application Growth

Furthermore, there is likely to be increased emphasis on data collection and cognitive capabilities of exoskeletons -- as autonomous smart devices that provide valuable insights to managers regarding worker performance and health.

Even as the market continues to evolve and expand, exoskeletons have yet to gain the attention of other innovative robotic technology markets, such as collaborative robots and autonomous vehicles.

"As their value across a wide range of verticals becomes more apparent and services lower the barriers to adoption, this will change rapidly," Whitton concludes.

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