Robots Are Making More Of Your Food. Here’s Why.

Vision-automation technology is taking over the factory floor.

A robot pours popcorn from a cooking pot into a bowl on March 8, 2017 at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI) of the university of Bremen, northwestern Germany. (INGO WAGNER/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

The robots are coming for our food — but not to eat it, to make it. Food manufacturers have started combining advances in laser vision with artificial-intelligence software so that automated arms can carry out more complex tasks, like cutting up chicken cutlets or inspecting toppings on machine-made pizzas. One sausage factory has been using more powerful cameras and quicker processors to enable robots to detect the twisted point between two cylindrical sausages fast enough that they can be cut apart at a rate of 200 a minute, reports The Wall Street Journal. 

A big part of robotics and automation is being able to see — that is clear with autonomous vehicles, which need to navigate obstacles and humanoid robots who need to integrate with humans. Therefore, companies around the world are investing in computer vision-based technology. WSJ reports that sensing and imaging market will grow about 10-fold to $18.5 billion by 2023, in part due to worker shortages, rising labor costs and robots’ performance edge over humans.

Food manufacturers have been early adopters of new technologies, and leaders are now finding vision automation indispensable because robot eyes outpace the human eye at many tasks.

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