- Specialized Offerings Thrive: Making robots is hard and costs a lot of money. With funding harder to come by, many companies who do one thing and do it right will benefit from proven revenue streams. Look for growth from companies making robots for the difficult, dirty, and dangerous jobs like energy and utilities inspection, as well as those tackling issues arising from climate change, such as irrigation monitoring and optimization.
- Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Companies Face a Difficult Balancing Act: Last year’s high-profile safety incidents will continue to be a challenge for AV, leading to delays and more human-in-the-loop oversight. But these measures may increase costs and thereby make it more difficult to compete with today’s less expensive alternatives, particularly when it comes to rideshares. Both safety and profitability are critical to success in this industry and AV companies will be forced to walk a tightrope between the two as pressures mount to prove the viability of this tech and associated business models.
- Drone Industry Consolidation Ramps Up: 2023 was a tough year in the drone world. The abrupt exits of several well-known players sent shockwaves through the industry while many had to resort to product line consolidations and layoffs to stay afloat. The headwinds will likely continue through 2024, but well-funded companies and those with profitable market niches will weather the storm and emerge stronger via low-cost acquisitions and less competition for investment dollars and talent. Regulatory progress – especially in Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and one-to-many operations – will continue to dictate scalability in many respects.
- Robotic-Assistance Improves the Surgical Outcome: Robotic-assisted surgeries will continue to become more popular. While the robots are unlikely to fully replace human surgeons in the near future, surgical robotic systems provide surgeons with tools, such as assistance in pre-operative planning, enhanced navigation and visualization systems, and more precise tool handling, that will enable them to perform more complex surgical procedures and improve their outcome.
- IP will Continue to Play a Critical Role: Many early stage companies found 2023 to be a difficult year to raise funds. As they wait for markets to open up, early stage companies should invest in building strong, strategic patent portfolios to protect their technologies. A strong IP position can help robotics companies differentiate themselves from competition and attract investors.
About the Authors:
Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Todd Basile is a patent & tech transactions attorney and former helicopter engineer, drawing on more than 15 years of legal and industry experience to help technology companies protect and commercialize their innovations.
David J. Dykeman, co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig's Boston office and co-chair of the firm's global Life Sciences & Medical Technology Group, is a registered patent attorney with over 25 years of experience in intellectual property law.
Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Roman Fayerberg is a registered patent attorney with broad experience helping clients to strategically protect and leverage their innovations globally.