Investors on the floor of the venerable New York Stock Exchange may have gotten a glimpse of the future on Wednesday when a collaborative robot from Universal Robots became the first "cobot" to ring the business' closing bell.
Cobots have had a rising profile in the logistics world as increasing numbers of the mechanical critters can be seen helping human warehouse employees to pick inventory with greater speed and accuracy.
Applications like that have driven cobots to become the fastest growing segment of industrial automation, expected to jump ten-fold to 34 percent of all industrial robot sales by 2025, according to figures from the International Federation of Robotics cited by Universal Robots.
For this latest task in the world of high finance, Denmark-based Universal Robots (UR), a division of Teradyne Inc., instructed its UR5e model bot to ring the stock exchange's bell as a demonstration of its ability to work alongside people without requirements for safety guarding, the company said.
The achievement is not the first time the firm has sent its bots onto a stock-trading floor, however. In 2013, the company dispatched its UR5 robot arm to ring the closing bell for the NASDAQ exchange in order to mark the launch of the ROBO-STOX Global Robotics and Automation Index exchange traded fund (ETF).
Likewise, Wednesday's NYSE bell ringing marked the five-year anniversary of ROBO Global, a robotics, automation, and AI stock index with investments in sectors from manufacturing to healthcare to sensing.
"With this event, we celebrate not just the success of robotics in empowering customers and investors, but also the successes of our customers in innovating and changing their workplace with cobots," Stuart Shepherd, regional sales director of UR's Americas Division, said in a release. "The bell ringing reflects our continued commitment towards making cobots an easy-to-integrate piece of a company's operations platform."