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Three of the University of Reading's 'Eric' robots in a line.
University of Reading's robot Eric.

Advantages and disadvantages of robots

Robots can be used in many applications, for which, somewhere in the past, humans were used.

What are the advantages?

  • In many situations robots can increase productivity, efficiency, quality and consistency of products:
    • Unlike humans, robots don’t get bored
    • Until they wear out, they can do the same thing again and again
    • They can be very accurate - to fractions of an inch (as is needed for example in manufacturing of microelectronics)
  • Robots can work in environments which are unsafe for humans - in the nuclear or chemical industries for example
  • Robots don’t have the same environmental requirements that humans do - such as lighting, air conditioning or noise protection
  • Robots have some sensors/actuators which are more capable than humans

What are the disadvantages?

  • The use of robots can create economic problems if they replace human jobs
  • Robots can only do what they are told to do - they can’t improvise
    • This means that safety procedures are needed to protect humans and other robots
  • Although robots can be superior to humans in some ways, they are less dextrous than humans, they don’t have such powerful brains, and cannot compete with a human’s ability to understand what they can see.
  • Often robots are very costly - in terms of the initial cost, maintenance, the need for extra components and the need to be programmed to do the task.

Can you think of any other possible advantages or disadvantages to using robots? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Remember you can ‘like’ and reply to comments made by others.

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This article is from the free online course:

Begin Robotics

University of Reading

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