The last several years have seen a sharp resurgence in orders of industrial robots, roughly tripling in the wake of the Great Recession. A flurry of investor activity has accompanied the rise in adoption of robots by manufacturers, piquing the interest of manufacturers of all stripes and, interestingly, firms outside traditional industrial manufacturing. Venture capital investments in robotics technology startups are up, too.
- Annual robots orders in North America surpassed 20,000 units from 2011–2013, and a surge in orders occurred in the first half of 2014.
- According to the PwC/NVCA MoneyTree Report based on data from Thomson Reuters, capital investments by US venture capital firms rose to about $172 million (in 10 investment rounds) in 2013, nearly tripling 2011 levels.
- The number of global published patents for robotics technologies passed 5,000, the highest level ever, in 2013, up from about 1,400 in 2004.