ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The streets are empty of cars in Ann Arbor, but robot traffic is up.
Refraction AI’s robot restaurant food delivery service has seen demand increase by four times since the COVID-19 crisis shut down Michigan last month, and the company’s engineers are working furiously to expand the company’s small fleet of three-wheeled REV ‘bots.
Refraction is part of a surge in robot activity as the U.S. economy struggles to get back on track while maintaining self-distancing and exposing as few workers as possible in the workplace. The virus is accelerating robotics trends — from auto plant assembly lines to grocery store cleaning robots to security patrols — and that is likely to have enormous implications for the jobs of the not-so-distant future.
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