A New Frontier: How Automation is Changing These 8 Industries

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Updated 03/07/2024

For the longest time, automation has been mostly synonymous with manufacturing. But now, with advancements in automation technology, almost every industry is finding a way to leverage solutions like machine vision, robotics, artificial intelligence, motion control and more—for the better.

From coping with the rising scarcity of labor and supply chain issues to gaining more visibility and analytics of operational needs, the opportunities are waiting to be unlocked. Just take these eight emerging industries that are now adopting automation to pave a new way forward.

  1. Agriculture
  2. Healthcare
  3. Life Sciences
  4. Construction
  5. Food & beverage
  6. Retail
  7. Grocery
  8. Security


From the surge in food demand to the emphasis on more sustainable growing practices, many farmers are looking to solutions like precision technology and automation as a way to create more efficient and sustainable operations.

Automated agricultural machinery equipped with machine vision, sensors and AI can control every life stage of a crop. Farmers armed with smart drone technology can also monitor, fertilize and successfully fight off damage from pests and disease.

Meanwhile, indoor farmers are using automation to save water, monitor crop health, and pick even the most delicate herbs and flowers without damaging them, like with OnRobot’s RG6 gripper.


Healthcare, like many industries, faces numerous challenges. Between modernization efforts and mounting labor issues, there is more and more pressure to ensure medical processes and patient care don’t falter. And like in many other industries, automation is at the ready to assist.

From lending a robotic hand in operating rooms to another set of eyes for diagnostic testing, automated solutions are not just a way to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and relieve employees from dull or repetitive tasks. They are the future of healthcare. 

While still in early adoption, we are already seeing the transformative potential they can offer hospitals and healthcare centers—for patients and providers alike.


Like in the healthcare industry, automation has the potential to be a true game-changer for the life sciences industry. From drug discovery and experimental reproducibility to the manufacturing of therapeutics and regulatory compliance, there is so much opportunity when companies embrace automation for better outcomes.

As of right now, robotic systems, vision technology and artificial intelligence (AI)—or some mix of the three—are leading the adoption. But we are only skimming the surface of what’s possible, especially when it comes to discovery and production.


Construction work is notoriously hard on the body and it’s easy to see why—repetitive motions, heavy objects, dangerous power tools, etc. By adopting automation and integrating robots into their worksites, construction companies have found that they can cut back on accidents and costs while also ramping up their productivity.

While human workers need breaks, construction droids (such as swarm robots) can do repetitive tasks like bricklaying or moving heavy materials like cement columns or bags over and over again.

Robots are also incredibly precise, making them ideal for highly delicate tasks such as welding column joints or shaping cement columns. But more importantly, they can do dangerous tasks like demolition work without jeopardizing worker safety.


Preparing food with consistent quality requires years of practice and non-stop vigilance—unless you have a robot on hand.

From food processing and packaging to supply and demand management, food and bev companies and manufacturers across the board are exploring how automation can help them sort, mix, make, pick, pack and deliver large amounts of products with minimal human help. And, of course, without compromising the quality or safety of their products.

You’ll find a variety of solutions to serve the wide variety of food and beverage companies in the industry. Think about everything like conveyor systems, AMRs, AI, vision technology and more. You’re seeing these solutions make their way into large factories and plants and smaller facilities looking for ways to maximize production, floor space and costs.


Customer service means everything in retail. But when employees are overloaded with tasks, experience unexpected shutdowns or have to navigate a changing economy and customer behaviors, that service can falter. With robotic solutions, retailers can adapt and optimize their operations. Not to mention, free human workers from routine tasks and let them focus on providing the best customer experience—virtually or in person.

Retail heavy hitters, like Walmart and Lowe’s, are experimenting with automated solutions like self-checking shelves, embedded vision and picking robots to streamline their floor operations.

And yet the biggest benefit of retail automation is its ability to capture and process even the smallest amount of data. Whether it’s spotting shoplifters or tracking customers’ buying patterns, combining AI with the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the ways stores work—and understand their customers.


Robotic solutions aren’t limited to big retail stores either. In fact, a growing number of grocery stores and supermarkets are benefiting from employing autonomous robots.

Friendly-looking, multi-purpose droids like Marty the Robot can roam grocery stores greeting customers, cleaning up spills and keeping shelves stocked. At the same time, heavy-duty robots can work in the storeroom unloading trucks and storing goods before they’re sent out to the store floor.

Perhaps the most impressive example of automated grocery stores is the Amazon Go stores. Instead of cashiers and kiosks, they use machine vision and AI (or “Just Walk Out Technology” as they call it) to create an expedited and contactless experience.


Armed with embedded vision systems, thermal imaging and sophisticated sensors, security and surveillance systems can scan a premise for possible threats like fire hazards or spills, detect movements or intruders, and even know if the doors are locked. 

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and legged bots with vision systems can also be used as roving security bots. The military and law enforcement have been using mobile robotics for patrols, exploring dangerous environments and gathering intel for decades—with new advancements continuing to unlock new possibilities.

Are you ready to see how automation can change the game for your business? Then join us at the Automate Show in Chicago, IL, May 6–9, 2024.


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