on the topic of humanoid robotics

A Letter to the Editor of the Economist

By: Christian Ehl

Dear Editors,

It was with great interest I read the Science section articles on humanoid robotics in the June 5th edition. The development of humanoid robots seems to have arrived at an inflection point where AI and other technological advances mean they become truly available for commercial use cases.

What I missed in your article were two critical points:

  1. In the report on humanoid robots, no European companies/projects were mentioned although this continent is on the forefront of developments. What sets European companies such as 1X, Devanthro, and Neura Robotics, apart from their international peers is an often relentless focus on identifying end use cases and on building the right technology to solve a specific problem, as opposed to building technology for technology’s sake. This also means they are generally faster to show results in the market, with less capital need, something that should be lauded.
  2. The focus on autonomy of the robots, and the path to autonomy via better AI models, also neglected another strong trend in the industry – teleoperations. Companies such as Teleexistence and Devanthro are using teleoperation as a step towards full or partial autonomy in the market. Especially to reach the ultimate holy grail – to bring humanoid robots into our private homes –teleoperation is likely the only real alternative as every home is unique and no training data for AI models exist.

Thank you for your great editorial work, and for an informative read each week.

Christian Ehl

We are kindly republishing this Letter to the Editor of the Economist that Christian Ehl shared with us recently, with his permission.