In early April 2011, Leon Panetta, then serving as head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, met with Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, his counterpart at Pakistan's intelligence service. A decade earlier, Pasha's complaint would have sounded like science fiction. He warned Panetta that America was killing too many Pakistanis with flying robots. It is doubtful that Pasha used the term flying robots to refer to the armed Predator unmanned aerial vehicles that U.S. forces routinely used to hunt Al-Qaeda fighters. It is even more unlikely that Panetta revealed that the Predators were not the only type of flying robots operating in Pakistani airspace. About the time of their meeting, possibly during the meeting itself, a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel was circling in the vicinity of Abbottabad, adjacent to Pakistan's equivalent of the U.S. Army's West Point Military Academy. Nicknamed the Beast of Kandahar, the Sentinel's quarry was Al-Qaeda's elusive and soon-to-be executed leader Osama Bin Laden, the master mind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that ignited the free world's war on terrorism.
The success of flying robots -- the Pentagon favors the term unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs) -- is the most visible part of the larger story regarding the sudden appearance of robots away from the factory floor. The goal of this study is to examine and provide a comprehensive dollar-value forecast for the robotics industry as it moves aggressively forward into the second decade of the 21st century.
The global demand for robots and robot-related products was worth around $21 billion in 2010. The market is expected to grow to nearly $22 billion in 2011 and $30 billion by 2016, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7% between 2011 and 2016.
The Asian market will show the largest growth over the forecast period. This sector is valued at nearly $7 billion in 2011 and is expected to increase at a 7.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach nearly $11 billion in 2016.
The North American market is estimated to reach nearly $5 billion in 2011 and is expected to increase at a 2.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach nearly $6 billion in 2016.
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