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Note: This piece is part of the Superheroes section of our Opportunity Sprint. Check out the full do-it-yourself AI strategy workshop program here.

AI that enables more sophisticated robotics and transport – where machines can learn and operate in uncontrolled environments – will fundamentally alter our physical world. This will not only affect jobs but also our broader social systems; changing cities and affecting the entire manufacturing, logistics and transport infrastructure.

It’s early days still. Fine-motor coordination remains deeply challenging for machines, as does operating in an unpredictable environment. While self-driving vehicle technology is promising and development is proceeding, there remain significant practical obstacles as well as financial hurdles associated with needing both a “safety driver” as well as autonomous functionality.

But in a world where driving is the distraction and people want to use transit time for socializing or sleeping, the race is on to perfect the technology, to allow vehicles to coordinate themselves in complex city environments, to reduce cost in long-distance transportation, to bring a new level of precision and repeatability to physical-world actions and to improve access to mobility for those who are immobile.

The secret to capitalizing on robotics and transportation AI for most companies will likely not be “shooting for the moon.” It will be in understanding where the highest value, most do-able applications are that matter initially. Some of the most inspirational applications include:

  • delivering goods without the need for a human driver

  • measuring and controlling something so precisely that it’s better than anything a human could do

The value of precision and repeatability in a physical environment
  • making workplaces safer by having machines watch, product and warn about hazards

AI that puts together movement, vision, prediction and alerts for human and asset safety

Watch these videos, discuss what you think is inspirational and imagine what could happen next.

About Sonder Scheme: We are on a mission to help humans win in the age of AI by making AI design easier, more inclusive, more ethical and more human. Through our workshops, learning journeys and the Sonder Scheme Studio, we enable people to use design thinking-based tools to create innovative, effective and ethical human-machine systems. Both offline and online, Sonder Scheme empowers companies around the world to design human-centered AI.

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