Automation has made a massive impact in the field of technology, as it enables procedures and processes to be carried out with minimal human intervention and with greater precision. Automation has applications across industries and verticals, playing roles in industrial and consumer landscapes, and has also made its mark in laboratory settings. Since laboratories are where scientific research takes place and hazardous materials are often used, precision and safety are important, making automation a valuable component of labs and an independent market in itself.
Laboratory or lab automation refers to the development of strategies and technologies that can facilitate the application of automation to a laboratory setting, where lab automation can reduce the need of humans in carrying out repetitive and straightforward procedures. Lab automation is a multi-disciplinary field that involves scientists and engineers to develop technologies that will be helpful in a lab. The requirements of lab automation are different from other forms of automation, with precision and recordable results playing an important role in boosting the productivity of labs.
Surge Of Lab Automation Technology In Recent Years
The current value of the global lab automation market or the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) market is estimated to be $3.50 billion, out of which the healthcare segment itself accounts for $1.11 billion. The global LIMS market is projected to grow to $4.91 billion by 2024, with the segment for healthcare reaching a value of $1.75 billion in the same period.
Laboratory automation services have the potential to increase efficiency by 80 percent while reducing 40 percent of configuration efforts and providing a return on the investment in under 3 months as implementation and training contribute to 40-45 percent of laboratory automation costs. Factors that pose a threat to the market primarily consist of the lack of availability of trained and skilled professionals and the costs involved in setting up and maintaining lab automation software. At a global level, non-uniform standards of integration slow down market growth.
Lab automation technology has witnessed a surge over the past few years, driven by innovations and advancements in the market, and a greater demand for LIMS services.
- The laboratory automation market can be identified on the basis of industry, for example, life science and healthcare, and on the basis of the role of the technology. The life sciences market accounts for approximately 35-40 percent of the lab automation market share, and biotechnology constitutes 20 percent. The biotechnology segment is expected to grow at a rapid pace, according to experts. Based on lab automation technology, the market can be divided into 6 broad categories, namely, robotics, liquid handling, laboratory execution and data management systems, multiplex and high-throughput ELISA systems, microplate readers, and informatics.
- The demand for laboratories overall is increasing at a global level and with it the demand for lab automation. Labs are being set up by contract research organizations (CROs), for academic research, healthcare research, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, government research, scientific research, industrial research, biorepositories, biotechnology, chemicals industry and more. As competition increases at an industrial level, innovation, research and development are means for companies to develop new products to beat the competition.
- Technology plays a vital role in lab automation, and there are certain technologies that have made a major impact on the market in recent years. Cloud-based systems for backup security and services for Big Data analysis such as Software as a service (SaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS) are making their impact on the market. Cloud services make sharing data easier and faster than ever, regardless of the location. SampleManager by Thermo Fisher has emerged as a popular integrated data management system, especially for scientific data.
Online LIMS offers real-time access, interactive data analyzers, auditing features and live daily workbooks. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the form of Chatbots have become common in lab settings that can perform tactical and customer service roles. Although currently, chatbots are mostly used in oil and gas industry labs, they can be further integrated with traditional clinical labs as well. The Internet of Things (IoT) is another technology that is growing in popularity in lab automation and has significant potential. By linking IoT with lab automation, data can directly be transferred from scientific instruments to the machines without the physical need of humans, thereby drastically cutting down on processing times and chances for error.
- The lab automation market is immensely customizable, which has further increased its appeal across industries. LIMS has multiple variants across the broad categories of clinical, analytical, environment and manufacturing and can be developed and customized to suit the specific requirement. Although customization may require greater up-front costs in setup and training, in the long run, customized lab automation offers greater returns as it performs specialized tasks.
- At a regional level, North America retains its position as a dominant market in lab automation, with the presence and spread of major players of the industry in the region. Greater awareness about diseases, diagnosis processes and the role of labs, has led to a higher demand for lab automation in the area. Larger allocation of funds for research and development is also driving the market in the area.
The Asia Pacific region is considered to be a prospective market with great potential growth opportunities, driven by emerging economies, unmet medical needs, aging populations and demand to boost research and development facilities.
- The many benefits offered by lab automation have further increased their demand in the market. Using lab automation frees up human resources to attend to other tasks, performs repetitive tasks with utmost precision and efficiency, increases operational efficiency, reduces the need for humans to deal with hazardous materials, manages data, and optimizes the clinical workflow overall. Since machines require less downtime, they can work extended hours and also maintain data security and regulatory compliances. Using lab automation reduces operating costs significantly, making it more affordable for smaller companies to set up labs.
Lab automation technology has witnessed a significant surge in recent years with greater demand from diverse sectors for lab facilities. The customization capability of lab automation technology makes it suitable for nearly every facility and purpose. While developed markets currently have a larger market for lab automation, the demand from emerging economies is growing at a rapid pace. Apart from healthcare and life sciences, lab automation technology is used in biotechnology, CROs, academia and research and development. Cloud-based technologies, IoT and innovations are further expected to drive the market for lab automation technology in the coming years.
Drones Could Dramatically Change How Health Care Works
A recent article from NPR said that drone delivery systems are one step closer to reality. The report said: “Drones with longer ranges could eventually be a game-changer in helping meet health care needs in underserved communities and in rural areas, where doctors and patients could be miles apart from medications and supplies.” Another article from CBInsights added that drones are tackling everything from disease control to vacuuming up ocean waste to delivering pizza, and more… and will impact society. The NPR article said: “Drone technology has been used by defense organizations and tech-savvy consumers for quite some time.
However, the benefits of this technology extends well beyond just these sectors. With the rising accessibility of drones, many of the most dangerous and high-paying jobs within the commercial sector are ripe for displacement by drone technology. The use cases for safe, cost-effective solutions range from data collection to delivery. And as autonomy and collision-avoidance technologies improve, so too will drones’ ability to perform increasingly complex tasks.
The emerging global market for business services using drones is valued at over $127B, according to PwC. And as more corporations look to capitalize on these commercial opportunities, investment into the drone space has grown.” Active tech companies in the markets this week include Plymouth Rock Technologies Inc. (CSE: PRT) (OTCQB: PLRTF), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX), United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS).
The report, focusing on healthcare needs, added: “Last year, (a) drone manufacturer… launched an emergency response program that gives first responders access to some of the company’s drones and peripherals, as well as technical support and assistance. So far, (the manufacturer) has partnered with fire departments in Los Angeles and Menlo Park, plus the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, (a university) has tested an ambulance drone that could deliver defibrillators on demand. By extending existing emergency infrastructure, drones may be able to dramatically increase survival rates in both rural and urban areas around the world.”
Plymouth Rock Technologies’ (PRT) X1 Platform will be used in a series of airborne tests for the UK National Health Service (NHS) for emergency apparatus delivery. This will involve several test scenarios, that if successful will lead to on-scene delivery of defibrillators and other critical trauma assistance technologies.
The scope of the work involves the University of Warwick, The East Midland NHS trust and the Welsh Ambulance NHS Trust and will commence in May 2020.
“At this time of global medical resources being stretched beyond measure, we are honored to assist in this matter,” stated Dana Wheeler, CEO. “We believe that the multi-role design of the X1 that was purposely designed to carry up to 20lb of payload in all weather conditions will redefine how UAV technologies are utilized,” concluded Wheeler.
“Our engineers and PFCO pilots are preparing the X1 for this purpose”, stated Carl Cagliarini, Chief Strategy Officer. “We will be working with two other strategic UK contractors who will be the liaison leads on this program. Our platform being used for this capability is both exciting and beneficial to many struggling communities in the UK. We believe that the broad gamut of life-saving payloads from anaphylaxis shot, bloods, vaccine or electronic resuscitation instruments, could save life both on main street and also potentially for greater use for armed forces in the battlefield,” concluded Cagliarini.
Other recent developments in the tech industry include:
Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao recently announced the (FAA) awarded the first air carrier certification to a drone delivery company, Wing Aviation, a company owned by Google. The certification paved the way for Wing Aviation to begin commercial package delivery in Blacksburg, VA. Wing partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Virginia Tech, as one of the participants in the Transportation Department’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Piolt Program.
“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our Number One priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. Wing demonstrated that its operations met the FAA’s rigorous safety requirements to qualify for an air carrier certificate. This is based on extensive data and documentation, as well as thousands of safe flights conducted in Australia over the past several years.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) recently said it is bringing a veteran aviation exec on board to run its drone-delivery subsidiary as the retail giant continues to push for 30-minute aerial shipping. “We’re very excited David Carbon joined Amazon to lead the next phase of our mission to bring 30-minute delivery by drones to customers,” Brad Porter, vice president of robotics at Amazon, told CNET. “David has over 20 years of experience bringing ground-breaking aerospace innovations to scale safely and reliably, and we look forward to his contributions as we scale up our manufacturing and customer delivery operations.”
Under Kimchi, Prime Air advocated for a national drone-integration plan for air traffic. During AUVSI’s Xponential Conference in 2016, Kimchi laid out a plan to create an organized, layered structure of airspace combined with a system of “federated” traffic controllers. The system would allow aircraft of all types to communicate with controllers and each other.
FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) recently the company stated that for the first time in the United States, a drone completed a scheduled commercial residential delivery to a home in Christiansburg, Virginia. The drone delivery was conducted by Wing Aviation, in collaboration with FedEx Express, as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (IPP). Today’s delivery of a FedEx Express package marks the launch of the first scheduled, commercial residential drone delivery service and the first scheduled e-commerce delivery via drone delivery trial in the United States.
For the duration of the trial, Wing drones will transport select FedEx packages to qualifying homes in Christiansburg, demonstrating the benefits of drone delivery for last-mile delivery service. Wing has received the first authorization from the FAA to conduct scheduled, commercial drone package delivery to residences.
United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS) recently said UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward will use drones to deliver prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to The Villages, Florida for the largest U.S. retirement community, home to more than 135,000 residents. The service will use Matternet’s M2 drone system.
Drone transport offers a fast delivery option for medicines that are time-sensitive, while supporting social-distancing efforts. Drone delivery options provide individuals with a convenient alternative to visiting a pharmacy. This program can also help prioritize the protection of our healthcare heroes.
“Our new drone delivery service will help CVS provide safe and efficient deliveries of medicines to this large retirement community, enabling residents to receive medications without leaving their homes,” said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. “UPS is committed to playing its part in fighting the spread of Coronavirus, and this is another way we can support our healthcare customers and individuals with innovative solutions.”
This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire
Cambridge Pixel Announces Dual Redundant Radar Tracking to Support Coastal Surveillance Systems
– SPx dual redundant radar tracking protects against system failure by providing two processing paths for the radar data & allowing automatic switching as needed
– SPx dual redundancy is designed for high reliability or remote systems such as maritime & coastal surveillance applications where multiple radars are located along a coastline
Cambridge Pixel, a developer of radar display, tracking, and recording sub-systems, has added dual redundancy to its SPx Tracking Server to support high-reliability radar tracking. The enhancement will protect against system failure by providing two processing paths for the radar data and allowing automatic switching from one to the other.
Support for dual redundant radar tracking is designed for developers of high reliability or remote systems such as in maritime and coastal surveillance applications where multiple radars are located along a coastline and may be unmanned and highly inaccessible.
David Johnson, CEO, Cambridge Pixel, said: “Many of our radar processing systems are being used in complex, distributed architectures where reliability and remote monitoring are essential and many rely on our radar tracking capability to interpret the radar observations to distinguish real targets from noise.
“With support for dual redundant radar tracking within our SPx radar processing software, we can now provide customers that demand high reliability with the built-in capability to switch processors in the event of a system failure. This means that the receiving client sees a single consistent and uninterrupted stream of radar and target track data because the individual processors are programmed to manage the switch-over between themselves if needed.”
Cambridge Pixel’s SPx radar tracker is a best-in-class software-based COTS primary radar data extractor and target tracker that provides target track identification, course and speed. It is fully parameterised, highly configurable and supports multi-hypothesis tracking to improve tracking efficiency and reduce nuisance alarms, as well as modelling algorithms to support the detection of very small targets. The software is sensor independent and supports a wide range of commercial and military radars.
Cambridge Pixel has other products which assist developers and integrators with managing system wide activity. For example, SPx Monitor supports wide-area and local monitoring of network traffic and system health, providing information back to a central monitoring point which can show errors, conflicts, or an absence of data on any expected network addresses.
“We are seeing increasing demand from customers for dual redundancy and for management tools to provide a consolidated view of systems across multiple locations,” said David Johnson. “This is further evidence that the display of radar is increasingly moving up the supply chain and becoming a critical part of modern surveillance, navigation, and command & control systems.”
SPx is Cambridge Pixel’s integrated radar processing and display software based on COTS software and Open Standards. The SPx suite of software libraries and applications provides highly flexible, ready-to-run software products for radar scan conversion, visualisation, radar video distribution, target tracking, sensor fusion, plot extraction, and clutter processing.
Cambridge Pixel’s radar technology is used in naval, air traffic control, vessel traffic, commercial shipping, security, surveillance, and airborne radar applications. Its systems have been implemented in mission-critical applications with companies such as BAE Systems, Frontier Electronic Systems, Blighter Surveillance Systems, Exelis, Hanwha Systems, Kelvin Hughes, Lockheed Martin, Navtech Radar, Raytheon, Saab Sensis, Royal Thai Air Force, Sofresud and Tellumat.
This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire
Automotive Technology Company Veoneer Begins Production of Technology Suite for Polestar 2
The automotive technology company Veoneer, Inc. (NYSE: VNE and SSE: VNE SDB), launched its state-of-the-art suite of collision mitigation technology on the new fully electric Polestar 2.
Veoneer begins production of its advanced sensing technology and software enabling the Polestar 2 to become a leader in the next generation of car safety. The system allows the Polestar 2 to gather information and data about its surroundings and the trajectory of vehicles around it to assist drivers to avoid potentially hazardous situations.
Key components of the technology suite include Veoneer’s 4th generation mono vision system, 77GHz front radar, and a state-of-the-art ADAS Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The Polestar 2 is the first vehicle to use the Zenuity sensor fusion software platform enabling industry-leading features like object detection, lane keeping aid, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and traffic assist.
Veoneer’s front 77 GHz radar unit and windshield-mounted mono vision camera keeps the Polestar 2’s eyes on the road to take preventative measures whenever something encroaches on its path ahead. Everything from disabled cars to pedestrians can be noticed by the Polestar 2, which then warns the driver (via a brake pulse, audio warning signal, and visual warning signal in the driver display) and then brakes automatically if needed. Automatic pre-braking, steering support, and incrementally tightening seatbelts also come into play, maximizing safety for the occupants.
Veoneer’s 4th generation mono vision system is designed with a 100-degree field-of-view and 1.7 megapixel resolution to support ADAS features necessary to achieve 5-star ratings for Euro NCAP. The system is comprised of fully integrated hardware and algorithms using deep learning technologies that identify objects such as cars, road markings, or road signs.
Veoneer’s newest generation of 77GHz radars have improved performance and provide reliable and accurate situational awareness of objects surrounding the vehicle. Veoneer’s radar design has improved waveform and operates at extended ranges needed to achieve 5-star ratings for Euro NCAP.Veoneer’s ADAS ECU is the “ADAS brain” of the vehicle which hosts a sophisticated software feature stack along with feature software from other sensors to interpret the situation around the vehicle, and trigger ADAS features such as emergency braking or cross traffic alert. Veoneer’s ADAS ECU is designed to be an open scalable hardware and software architecture that hosts algorithms.
“We are excited to start deliveries of Veoneer’s 4th generation mono vision cameras, upgraded 77GHz radars, ADAS ECUs and industry-leading feature software on the all-new Polestar 2, allowing drivers to interact with the Polestar and its surroundings in an advanced new way,” says Jan Carlson, Veoneer Chairman, President and CEO. “Veoneer is proud to bring new levels of safety and convenience to car drivers and occupants across the globe and the Polestar 2 is the first vehicle equipped with these advanced systems.”
This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire
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