Germany's industrial robot manufacturer Kuka Group has made an ambitious plan to enter the personal assistant robot market with the help of Midea Group.
In 2016, China's Midea acquired Kuka for EUR4.5 billion.
Till Reuter, chief executive officer of Kuka, said that they have seen the potential to use Midea's advantage in the consumer sector to develop robots that can assist in handling daily chores. Reuter said Midea is not engaged in any business related to robot or automation; therefore, Kuka will be Midea's automation business. At the same time, Midea is good at developing within the consumer industry. Based on these conditions, the two parties decided to join hands in consumer robot development.
However, Reuter said that the development of consumer industry is much faster than the industrial sector. So they hope that Midea can integrate the "German DNA" into the home-used robots.
In addition, he said Kuka focuses on the integration of software and hardware to make its robots more intelligent and better prepared for a wider range of tasks.
Statistics from International Federation of Robotics show that more and more companies invest in automation and the sales of industrial robots surpassed 250,000 units in 2015.
But the scale of the consumer industry may be even larger. Statistics from market information firm Tractica show that in 2016, the shipment of consumer robots reached ten million units and the market scale was about USD3.8 billion. By 2022, it is expected to increase to USD13.2 billion.