Differences between robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Differences between robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Have you ever felt embarrassed when mistakenly identifying AI as Robotics or vice versa? Take comfort in knowing that you are one of many to make this error – even experts have been known to mix up these terms. The differences between robotics and artificial intelligence aren’t that huge.

Robotics, a field of engineering that revolves around creating and operating robots, is primarily concerned with developing physical machines that can carry out tasks independently or with some level of autonomy.

Artificial intelligence focuses on creating algorithms and computational models that allow machines to replicate intelligent actions. Although both fields contribute to the progress of automation and intelligent systems, they have distinct scopes and goals, which we will delve into in this article.

Brief History of Robotics

The concept of a robot has been around since ancient times. However, the term “robot,” as we currently understand it originated from the Czech word “robota,” which refers to forced labor.

The term “robotics” was introduced by Isaac Asimov in his science-fiction story Runaround in 1942. Asimov’s subsequent tales about robots brought a heightened sense of realism, shedding light on the difficulties of designing intelligent machines. This inspiration paved the way for developing contemporary robotic systems, which continue to evolve today.

Overview and Definitions of Robotics

As previously described, robotics is a field of technology that focuses on creating, building, functioning, and utilizing robots. Robots can be programmed to perform tasks independently or with minimal human intervention. The essential features of robotics include:

Sensory System

Robotic beings rely on various sensory tools to comprehend and analyze data from their environment. These tools comprises of visual cameras, temperature sensors, lidar systems, and other advanced technologies that empower them to move and react accordingly.


In various fields, such as manufacturing, surgery, and logistics, the progress of robotics hinges on creating control mechanisms that enable robots to engage with objects and carry out specific tasks.


Although not all robots possess complete autonomy, a significant number are engineered to function independently to a certain extent. This independence can vary from simple decision-making to more sophisticated skills, like acquiring knowledge through experience.

Physical Embodiment

Robots come in different forms, ranging from mechanical arms used in industries to human-like robots. These physical machines use sensors, actuators, and manipulators to engage with the surroundings.

Real-World Application Examples of Robotics

There are numerous practical uses for robotics in different sectors of the economy. Here are briefly discussed real-world applications:


Due to their ability to overcome human error limits and improve surgical techniques, robots are becoming increasingly important in the medical field.

robot healthcare

Significant progress has been made in telesurgery since its inception in the 1980s when engineer Philipe Green performed the first one. Important discoveries are still to be made, especially in urological surgery.

Robots are essential in laboratories because they can automate tedious operations like inserting test tubes into measurement instruments. Their effectiveness in dispensing drugs in pharmacies and hospitals has been shown. Yaskawa Motoman robots, for example, can be trained to do blood tests.


Robots are used for various tasks, such as transferring parts between locations, loading and unloading machinery, and performing specialized processing procedures using tools to manipulate parts. Currently, robots are used for various tasks, particularly in the automotive sector.

These tasks include spot and arc welding, waterjet and laser cutting, riveting, grinding, brushed polishing, other machining applications, and spray painting and drilling. The nuclear industry employs PaR systems, a remote manipulator or teleoperator controlled by a human, to deploy robots to handle hazardous material.

Brief History of Artificial Intelligence

Philosophers initially attempted to characterize human thought processes as the mechanical manipulation of symbols, which is how artificial intelligence started.

programmable digital computer

The programmable digital computer, a device built on the abstract core of mathematical reasoning, was created in the 1940s due to this effort.

A few scientists were motivated to consider creating artificial intelligence through this technology and its concepts. In 1956, John McCarthy gave a formal introduction to the use of artificial intelligence in a practical setting at the Dartmouth Workshop.

Overview and Definitions of Artificial Intelligence

The creation of algorithms and systems capable of carrying out tasks that generally require human intelligence falls within the larger category of artificial intelligence. Among AI’s essential qualities are:

Cognitive abilities

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are made to mimic or replicate human cognitive functions, such as perception, language understanding, learning, and problem-solving. Natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision are examples of how AI is used in these domains.

Data-driven Decision Making

For AI to predict and make decisions, data is crucial. The type and volume of data significantly influence the effectiveness of AI models.

Machine Learning

AI often leverages machine learning algorithms to enable systems to learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. This involves pattern recognition, statistical analysis, and iterative improvement.

How Does Robotics Work?

A typical basic robot consists of a moveable physical structure, a power supply, a sensor system, a motor, and a CPU that serves as the central nervous system controlling all of these components.

How Does Robotics Work

An outline of how these systems combine to form a robotic system is provided below:

  1. Design and Construction

Robotics begins with the design and construction of their physical features. The actual structure of the robot, including its body, joints, actuators (motors or other devices that move the robot), and sensors, is created through mechanical engineering. The robot’s intended tasks, surroundings, size, weight, and power requirements are all taken into account in the design.

  1. Sensors

Robots use sensors to perceive their environment and gather information that guides their actions. Typical sensors include cameras, ultrasonic, infrared, lidar, radar, and touch sensors. These sensors provide data about obstacles, objects, distances, temperatures, and other relevant information.

  1. Control Systems

Control systems are responsible for processing sensor data and determining the appropriate actions for the robot. This involves algorithms and software that analyze sensor inputs, make decisions, and send commands to the actuators. Control systems can be simple or complex, depending on the capabilities and autonomy of the robot.

  1. Programming

Usually, robots are programmed to carry out specific duties. Programming can be done using standard programming languages like C++, Python, or Java and particular languages for robotics or graphical user interfaces that simplify robot programming.

  1. Integration

Once designed, constructed, and programmed, robots are integrated into their intended environment or system. This may involve installing the necessary hardware, connecting to external systems or networks, and testing the robot’s functionality under real-world conditions.

How does AI work

Artificial intelligence allows machines to model or improve the human mind’s capabilities. AI is becoming an increasingly popular part of everyday life, but how does it work exactly? Lets explore:

  1. Data Collection

AI systems rely on large amounts of data to learn and make decisions. This data can come from various sources such as sensors, databases, the internet, or user interactions. The quality and quantity of data are crucial for training effective AI models.

  1. Data Preprocessing

Before feeding data into AI algorithms, it often needs to be preprocessed. This involves cleaning the data to remove errors or inconsistencies, normalizing the data to a standard format, and feature engineering to extract relevant information.

  1. Machine Learning Algorithms

Machine learning is a subset of AI that develops algorithms to learn from data and make predictions or decisions. Different machine learning algorithms include Supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning, and Reinforcement Learning.

  1. Neural Networks

Neural networks are a class of algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the human brain. They consist of interconnected nodes (neurons) organized into layers. Each Neuron receives input, performs a computation, and passes the output to the next layer. Deep learning, a subset of machine learning, uses neural networks with many layers (deep architectures) to learn complex patterns in data.

  1. Training

Training an AI model involves feeding it with labeled data (in supervised learning) and adjusting the model’s parameters to minimize errors or maximize performance. This process typically requires optimization algorithms such as gradient descent to update the model iteratively.

  1. Evaluation

After training, the AI model is evaluated on a separate dataset to assess its performance and generalization capabilities. This helps ensure the model can make accurate predictions or decisions based on new, unseen data.

  1. Deployment

Once trained and evaluated, the AI model can be deployed in real-world applications to perform specific tasks autonomously or assist human decision-making. Deployment involves integrating the model into software systems, hardware devices, or cloud services, depending on the application.

The core of the Matter: Differences and Overlaps between Robotics and AI

Robotics and AI

The Key Differences

Several characteristics set artificial intelligence and robotics apart. The following are some of the most important distinctions and distinguishing characteristics between the two:

  1. Degree of Automation

Simply put, automation uses technology—such as software, sensors, and smart devices—to carry out time-consuming or repetitive tasks. Two instances that follow demonstrate how robotics and AI differ in automation: Robots for industrial process automation and software for business process automation.

Business process automation software often consists of intelligent, user-friendly programs that streamline a company’s daily operations. The AI models that are included in BPA software enable its automotive functions.

On the other hand, mechanical elements used in industrial process automation make heavy material loading and unloading easier. The employment of robots with mechanical and sensory capabilities makes this feasible.

  1. Adaptability

Creating intelligent systems that can sense their surroundings, learn from data, and make decisions to accomplish particular goals—often across multiple domains—is the core goal of artificial intelligence (AI). Its ability to generalize learning across tasks and domains, while continuously improving through exposure to fresh data, gives it versatility.

In contrast, robotics is concerned with designing and building devices to communicate with their surroundings. While AI emphasizes adaptability in learning and decision-making and robotics emphasizes adaptation in physical contact and job execution, both fields contribute to developing adaptive systems.

  1. Concept

While robotics is primarily concerned with designing and constructing physical devices that interact with the outside environment, artificial intelligence (AI) focuses on developing intelligent software systems that can perceive, learn, and make decisions across various areas. While artificial intelligence (AI) facilitates decision-making, robotics combines AI with hardware to build machines that can perform tasks in real-world settings.

The Overlaps: AI in Robotics

When integrated, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) improve their combined capabilities and enable them handle both technologies to handle challenging tasks. Here are a few examples of how AI is impacting robotics:

  • Robots use machine learning algorithms to examine data, spot trends, and gradually get better at what they do. This is especially helpful for work in dynamic or uncertain environments.
  • Robots can interpret and comprehend visual information from their environment thanks to AI-powered vision systems. This is essential for tasks like object detection, navigation, and manipulation.
  • AI in robotics enables robots to make judgments based on sensor data, adapt to new circumstances, and learn from past experiences. Natural language processing, computer vision, machine learning, and other AI methods may be used.

Numerous applications are made possible by integrating robotics with AI, such as drones, industrial automation, home automation, autonomous cars, healthcare robots, and more.


Although “robotics” and “artificial intelligence” are sometimes used synonymously, they refer to different disciplines with unique applications and areas of interest. Robotics is the design and building of physical machines that interact with the outside environment, whereas artificial intelligence deals with creating intelligent software systems capable of learning and making decisions.

These domains overlap significantly since artificial intelligence (AI) technologies improve robotic performance and allow robots to execute intricate jobs.

Thought-provoking concerns concerning the future of automation, human-machine interaction, and the ethical implications of intelligent robots are brought up in conversations that relate to the merging AI and robotics.

What possible societal and industry changes might result from combining AI and robotics? Watch this space.

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