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Rise of the Machines – How Crowdsourcing Solutions are Solving Problems for the Robotics Industry

Rise of the Machines – How Crowdsourcing Solutions are Solving Problems for the Robotics Industry




Follow the news today and you’re likely to read something about how crowdsourcing is aiding advances in the robotics industry. This week alone we’ve seen stories concerning robots entering the healthcare industry, further advances in self-driving car technology, and even talking toilets.

In 2018, 56 million smart speakers were sold across the globe, making this the fastest growing consumer technology in today’s marketplace.

For many A.I. robotics, AR, and VR companies, crowdsourcing is a crucial part of their research and development processes. Although many people confuse crowdfunding with crowdsourcing, it’s the latter that is shaping and revolutionising the way we collaborate and pool knowledge on a global scale.

Before the internet, who would have imagined such a luxury? A platform where the world’s smartest minds can work together instantaneously for the greater good of our species. An innovative source of collaboration enhanced by technologies that offer lightning fast communication and gratification.

So, let’s take a look at four companies that are using robotics and solving problems using crowdsourcing solutions.

Horizon Robotics:

The Chinese A.I. chipmaker has just unveiled NavNet at CES2019. This will be a crowdsourced HD map data collection and positioning solution that will be integrated into vehicles for map data collection across the globe. This real time mapping will be collated via a monocular camera visual perception application.

This is a prime example of how robotic technology can incorporate crowdsourcing automation, and utilise the information gathered to enhance existing technologies and solutions.


RoboTurk is a crowdsourcing platform from the University of Stanford Vision and Learning for imitation learning projects in the robotics industry. In order to teach the latest A.I computer systems and robots how to emulate our thought processes and actions, we need information. What better way to collate this information than to crowdsource, thus collecting the most important/relevant data from the best possible sources.

RoboTurk implement large scale data collection via crowdsourcing platforms in order to reinforce learning for their robotics systems. This way, their robots can quickly learn to imitate specific tasks, based on the collation of information via crowdsourcing.


Even the space giant NASA has embraced crowdsourcing as a way to further research and innovate in the development of new robotic technology.

In 2018 they launched their Astrobee project. Astrobee is the name of a space robot that NASA will be sending to their International Space Station. Like terrestrial robots, Astrobee will rely on specialized equipment to interact with the environment around it. NASA has been drawing up plans for a lightweight articulated arm that folds into a compartment inside the robot’s body, but it has also been running a crowdsourcing contest to solicit outside designs for various mechanisms and components that will make up the arm.


In 2018, DHL harnessed the power of A.I, robotics, and crowdsourcing in a bid to compete against Amazon.

Its DHL eCommerce unit launched ‘DHL Parcel Metro’, a new service that helps online retailers satisfy customer demands for same- or next-day delivery.

Parcel Metro uses customised software that allows DHL eCommerce to create a ‘virtual delivery network’ of local or regional contract couriers along with crowd-sourced providers. This ensures maximum flexibility and capacity over the last mile.

By implementing crowdsourcing technology to source local and regional providers, they are maximising their footfall to serve potential customers. They also used collaborative robots and A.I glasses to streamline their warehouse communications. This could well help them get a competitive edge on their services across the globe.

These are just a handful of examples of how some of the world’s most innovative global robotics companies are harnessing the potential of crowdsourcing solutions in order to enhance their services.

Each week we see advancements in how the A.I. and robotics industries are using crowdfunding to collate knowledge and aid machine learning using the best data, collected from the sharpest human minds. It’s great to see that without collective human input, machine learning would be a more tedious and inefficient process.

The benefits of crowdsourcing are limitless and incredible when implemented for the greater good. Indeed, even President Trump has endorsed the idea of crowdsourcing to help build his ‘Great Wall’. So please, let’s keep crowdsourcing in the correct hands as we navigate this advancing landscape throughout 2019 and beyond.

Boldest Future Robot” is one of the dozen categories in our BOLD Awards. We are accepting entries be up to February 8 and then the crowd will have its say with a public vote to reduce the field to 5 entries in each category. An international panel of judges will help decide the winners, who will receive their awards at a black-tie ceremony in Venice, Italy on April 5 2019. What are you waiting for? Please send us your entry!

Clive Reffell

Clive Reffell

Clive has worked with Crowdsourcing Week to source, create and publish content since May 2016. With knowledge and experience gained in a 30+ year marketing career based in London, UK, he helps SMEs and startups to run successful crowdfunding projects, and provides support across wider marketing issues.

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