Old methods, new ideas: The world of modern automation
Automation has seen a lot of growth in recent years. As technology improves and computers get smaller, the abilities of machines are quickly racing to meet those of humans, and this is changing the way that modern businesses work. Of course, though, many of the best ideas in the field of automation are actually based on much older ones. Let’s take a look at three of the most common control methods for automation in the modern world, giving you the chance to see how these old ideas are able to be transformed into something cutting edge.
Follow the leader
While computers are very powerful, networks and other infrastructure will always have a limited capacity. This can make it hard to control all of the machines in a business directly, with the data that needs to be sent to each machine being too dense. Instead, it’s becoming increasingly common to find master and slave systems in the field of automation. A great example of this comes in the form of self-driving trucks. One truck can lead a group of several others, creating a convoy of machines that are simply following the leader. A mix of digital sensors is used to achieve this, making it possible to leave all of the followers with the most basic programming.
On the rails
Railways were one of the earliest forms of mechanical land transport used by humans. You can find them just about everywhere, and it’s easy to see why they have become so important. This article isn’t about trains, though, so how do they connect to automation? Many companies have started using line marking in their factories, warehouses, and other business spaces that can guide machines without any physical rails. Cameras and other sensors are used to make sure the machine stays on the right path, making it possible to create walkways for humans that will never have a machine on them. Some businesses have been able to use their existing line marking for this sort of idea.
Finally, as the last area to think about, it’s time to think about the way that robots see. In the past, inventors would often try to use complex sensor arrays to give their machines the information they need, but systems like this tend to be unreliable. Instead, a lot of modern robots and other automated machines are simply using cameras to build their image of the world. Putting two cameras together with a laser can give you everything a robot needs to have vision with depth perception, and the rest of the things they need to be able to see can either be programmed or learning by the robot itself.
As time goes on, the field of automation is only going to grow. This gives businesses a lot to be excited about, but it is also interesting to see how this could impact your daily life. There could easily come a time when automation is heavily featured in homes, especially as companies like Google and Amazon work on their smart devices.