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Automation vs Robotics

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Automation is a general term for work performed by information technology and machines.
Robotics is an advanced form of automation that is autonomous or semi-autonomous.

The Difference

Automation often requires static and predictable conditions to work. Robotics implies an entity that can deal with certain real world conditions on its own.
Robots are either autonomous or semi-autonomous. In most cases, they are semi-autonomous as they are controlled or directed in one way or another by systems or people. The term semi-autonomous implies that a machine can make decisions or navigate situations it encounters without help.


A automated assembly line machine packages peanuts all day long. When an apple appears amongst the peanuts the machine tries to package it. This doesn't work and the machine goes into an error state and the assembly line stops.
A robot that processes recycling materials can identify 200+ different reusable and recyclable parts. It processes all the scrap metal it is fed into dozens of bins. Although the robot has never seen an apple before, when it is given an apple it is able to pick it up and decide to put it into a bin for exceptional items.
The automation takes exact inputs and creates exact outputs. The robot is able to deal with a wide range of inputs and conditions without direction.
Automation vs Robotics
Work performed by information technology or machines.
Autonomous or semi-autonomous information technology.
Requires predictable conditions such as well formatted data and interchangeable parts.
Can do things and make decisions on its own. As such, robots can handle certain real world conditions without direction.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about robotics.
Autonomous Robots
Cloud Robotics
Autonomous Technology
Context Awareness
Deep Learning
Degrees Of Freedom
Controlled Robots
Farm Robots
IT Examples
Modular Robotics
Robot Culture
Sensor Competition
Fourth Revolution
Intelligent Things
Uncanny Valley
Recursive Improvement
Robot Highways
Robot Tax
Self Replicating Machine
Self-Replicating Spacecraft
More ...
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A list of robotics terms.

Robot Highways

An overview of robot highways.

Robotics vs Artificial Intelligence

The different between robots and AI.

Autonomous Robots

A definition of autonomous robot with examples.

Uncanny Valley

A definition of the uncanny valley of robotics.

Supervised Learning

A definition of supervised learning with examples.

Intelligent Things

The definition of intelligent things with examples.

Context Awareness

The common types of context awareness.

Robot Tax

The definition of robot tax.

Robot Culture

A definition of robot culture with examples.

IT Bias

An overview of IT biases with examples.

Darwin Among The Machines

A prediction about artificial intelligence from the year 1863.


A list of ways to automate.


An overview of over-automation.

Orchestration vs Choreography

The difference between process orchestration and choreography.

Types of Technology

A reasonably comprehensive list of information technologies.

Machine Data

The common types of machine data.

Office Automation

The common types of office automation.

Autonomous Systems

Common types of autonomous systems.

Automation Risk

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