This article details how American football uses a robot to avoid injuries to pro football players in the National Football League.
The Mobile Virtual Player or “MVP” football robot debuted in 2016 with intent to curb player injuries. Its origins date back to 2013 when a team of undergraduate engineering students at Dartmouth first started their journey to MVP’s creation.
How does MVP work and why is mobile robot revenue poised to explode by 2022?
Kind of a Robot, but Also not Really
When they call MVP a “robot”, that isn’t quite accurate.
A coach or member of the team staff can control MVP with a remote. As the person manipulates MVP, it can navigate around the field, as well as players. It functions more like a remote control dummy than an autonomous robot.
The Dartmouth team designed it to look like the classic children’s toy the “Weebles”. The toys featured the slogan “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” When a linebacker tackles it, it does, in fact, go down, but it “wobbles” right back up.
It can speed around a football or rugby field up to 20 mph or 32 km/h.
The services MVP provides already helped curb injuries like concussions in American football players. By taking the hits in practice, MVP spares human players that added risk.
Among others, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions adopted the technology.
The Dartmouth team (which included a Dartmouth lineman and rugby player) wants to improve MVP. Eventually, they might add sensors, so that MVP can operate more independently.
The American football robot MVP serves as one sliver of the overall mobile robot market.
Exponential Growth as Technology Becomes Available
From chatbots to vacuum cleaners, “AI” and “robots” are a part of our everyday lives. Even if their specific definitions aren’t always specific enough.
Artificial intelligence is destined to be a misused term for a very limited and predictable version of the Terminator, but robots have made a home in our present and future nonetheless.
In fact, Tractica forecasted the growth of the mobile robot market. As you can see in the chart above, the market showed exponential growth year over year. This is only in consumer robotics and doesn’t include any enterprise or industrial robots.
Supply Chain Quarterly reported that, thanks to e-commerce, low-cost labor, and mass personalization, people expect robot hardware revenue to explode in coming years.
It is expected to grow from $1.1-billion USD in 2017 to a pearl-clutching $7-billion USD by 2022.
This number includes revenue from autonomous mobile robots, as well as automated guided vehicles. Of course, these robots sport companion apps and software, too.
Experts expect to see a growth of $3-billion USD on top of the original projection when they factor in profits from said companion apps and software.
Perhaps every home will have robot butlers sooner than we originally thought.