Gartner’s Top 10 Tech Trends: Autonomous Things

November 20, 2018 by Stefanini

During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, analysts highlighted the “top 10 strategic technology trends” to look out for in 2019. According to Gartner, a strategic technology trend is “one with substantial disruptive potential that is beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use, or which are rapidly growing trends with a high degree of volatility reaching tipping points over the next five years.”

Autonomous things is the first tech trend on Gartner’s list. With artificial intelligence (AI) already changing the world by increasing productivity in the workplace, transforming how we  perform our day-to-day tasks, and much more, we can expect the technology to gain more popularity in 2019. In recent years, we have seen robots, drones, cars, appliances and other types of autonomous things perform tasks that would normally be performed by humans. According to David Cearley, vice president and Gartner fellow, we can expect to see more collaboration among intelligent things next year.

“As autonomous things proliferate, we expect a shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a swarm of collaborative intelligent things, with multiple devices working together, either independently of people or with human input,” said Mr. Cearley. “For example, if a drone examined a large field and found that it was ready for harvesting, it could dispatch an ‘autonomous harvester.’ Or in the delivery market, the most effective solution may be to use an autonomous vehicle to move packages to the target area. Robots and drones on board the vehicle could then ensure final delivery of the package.”

Here are some examples of how autonomous things are being used:

- Intel’s use of a drone swarm for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in 2018.

- A plan for Dubai to use autonomous police vehicles that can deploy their own drones for surveillance.

- Cooperative merge scenarios by Honda and other car manufacturers, in which vehicles communicate with one another to optimize traffic flows.  

A look into the future:

- By 2021, swarm intelligence will be a core design element for at least 30 percent of organizations deploying AI-enhanced systems.

- By 2021, 10 percent of new vehicles will have autonomous driving capabilities, compared to less than one percent in 2018.

(Source: Gartner)

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