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From Henrik Christensen’s Blog (06.19.14)
The IFR released their early results on robot sales for 2013 in association with the Automatica show in Munich. The numbers are highly encouraging. Worldwide sales went up to 179,000. This is an all-time high. The growth in Europe was modest, USA saw again solid two digit growth and Asia remains the biggest consumer of industrial robots. The major news here is the fact that China saw amazing growth with 37,000 units sold. The other major news is that 6,000 of the sold robots were manufactured in China. They have come a long way since the industry started a decade ago. The news clearly indicate that the single largest robotics market today is in China and it is seeing 40% annual growth. This, in combination with a very low penetration of the overall manufacturing sector, implies that we should expect to see continuing growth numbers for China. It is no surprise that KUKA recently has opened a factory in China, Universal Robots have opened a sales office, and ABB Robotics is headquartered in China. As salaries increase in China and cheap manufacturing is likely to go elsewhere it is only natural that China is trying to automate. The automotive sector is growing and the aerospace sector is also expected to see major growth as commercial airplanes from China are about to enter the market. It will be interesting to monitor the Chinese market as we see continued growth and major pushes by companies such as SIASUN.
Henrik I. Christensen, now an adjunct professor, is the former KUKA Chair of Robotics and a Distinguished Professor of Computing. He is also the founding director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Tech. Effective August 31, 2016, Christensen will move to the University of California, San Diego to serve as director of the newly formed Contextual Robotics Institute and professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering.
Christensen received his first degree in mechanical engineering and subsequently received M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Aalborg University in Denmark. His research focuses on human-centered robotics, specifically perception, human-robot interaction, and systems modeling. A large number of companies have commercialized his research and he has maintained active collaborations with researchers and companies across three continents. Christensen also serves as an advisor to numerous companies and agencies across the world.
The author of more than 300 contributions in the areas of computer vision, artificial intelligence, and computer vision, Christensen held positions at Aalborg University, Royal Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania before joining the Georgia Tech faculty.
Additionally, Christensen was the founder of the European Network of Excellence in Robotics (1999-2006), and in 2011, he founded the U.S. Robotics Virtual Organization. He was the coordinator of the effort to formulate the National Robotics Roadmap, which was presented to congress in 2009 and 2013.
Christensen received the Engelberger Award in 2011, the highest honor awarded by the robotics industry. He was also awarded the Boeing Supplier of the Year award in 2012, along with three other colleagues at Georgia Tech. He is a fellow of American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). In 2014, Christensen received an honorary doctorate in engineering from Aalborg University.
Christensen serves (or has served) on the editorial board for many of the most prestigious journals in the field of robotics, including the International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR), Autonomous Robots, Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), IEEE Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI), and Image & Vision Computing. In addition, he serves on the editorial board of the Springer STAR Series and the MIT Series on Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents. He is the co-editor-in-chief of Trends and Foundations in Robotics.
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