A Year In Robotics

POSTED BY   Sarah Etling
9th January 2018
A year in robotics

‘For the first nine months of 2017, North America saw 27,294 orders of robots valued at approximately $1.473 billion, by far the highest level ever recorded’ ZDNet.

2017 was the year where robotics came to life, in more ways than one. Here I take a look at a few of last years biggest robotics stories.


We started the year with a robot by Marble and Eat24, the food delivery robot taking over San Francisco. Marble can be described as a self-driving mars rover-esque car, mixed with a fridge/heater.  Using built-in sensors and cameras, Marble is able to navigate itself along paths to deliver food to customers addresses, managing to avoid pedestrians, rubbish bins, lamp posts, and any other obstructions, whilst optimizing its route and returning to Marble HQ or a restaurant once it has finished its delivery.

Marble was well received by the people of San Francisco, but things have since soured for the food delivery robot, as pedestrians were getting sick of sharing the streets with the robots. Last month a government ruling was made that only 9 robots are allowed loose in the city at any one time, only on streets with a 6ft-wide path,  and they must be accompanied by a human chaperone at all times. Spoilsports. 


Atlas, the backflipping robot from Boston Dynamics, was probably the most iconic video in robotics this year. At first glance, it looks like a gymnast wearing a robot suit but when you realise it is a robot, not only does it just look pretty impressive and also scary at how lifelike it is, but it shows how advanced robotics has become.

Atlas can not only backflip but climb stairs, turn quickly, and if it falls it can pick itself straight back up again. With skills like these, this humanoid robot could be used in a nuclear facility, for example, that isn’t suitable for human life but can carry out the necessary actions.

Sex robots

And we can’t forget that 2017 may well be remembered as the end of human relationships as we know them. The sex robot market has caused a stir, with a Channel 4 TV show focusing on the development of the robots, and Samantha the sex robot visiting Holly and Phil on the This Morning couch.

Recent news already this month is saying that sex robots may make men obsolete as they will be incapable of engaging in real human relationships after the rise of romantic robots. But not to make us women feel left out, Realbotics expect to roll out a male sex robot with a bionic penis later in 2018.

2017 has certainly been a year of varied interesting robotics and if 2018 continues the same way we will be sure to see some intriguing things.

A Year In Robotics

Sarah Etling

Sarah Elting is Head of Marketing at TDMB. Following a degree in Marketing, she headed to Italy to start up a property consultancy. On her return to colder climates, she embarked on a marketing and creative journey that over the course of 12 years evolved from launching paint collections to heading up the marketing of a successful PropTech start-up and becoming CIM qualified. Sarah now writes about all aspects of strategic marketing and technology and continues to be interested in Property.

Get in Touch With Sarah Etling


You may also like

The Month In Robotics: The Best Robotics Articles of July 2018
31st July 2018
Multiplicity: The Case For Human-Robot Interaction
24th May 2018
Metamorphoses: Cyborg Identities, Rights and Movements
8th May 2018