2021 Robot Round Up

2021 Robot Round Up

Welcome to the Robot Remix, where we summarise the week's need-to-know robotics and automation news.

Join us for an insight into the trends of 2021 and an introduction to the robots that exemplified them.

Automated Food Preparation

From domestic kitchen robots to robot restaurants, the robotic food scene was bustling in 2021.

These were our favourites.

Moley Kitchen Robot

Hydraulic robotic arm

Taking domestic and commercial kitchens by storm in 2021, Moley's ceiling mounted kitchen robot is able to cook a whopping 5,000 recipes from scratch. Sleek, shiny and beautifully designed, we would jump at the chance to get our hands on the world's first robotic kitchen.

True Bird's Automated Micro Cafe

Automated material handling system

Like most tech companies, Remix is predominantly fuelled by coffee. The thought of bad vending machine coffee fills us with dread, which is why we love True Bird's approach of automating high-quality coffee production to create artisan quality coffee wherever you need it! Also, check out how they use magnets to move coffee cups -such a great design feature.

‍Electric Vehicles

2021 was another record year for electric vehicle (EV) sales with 5.6 million sold, up 83% from 2020 & 168% from 2019!

A major contributor to the growing success of EVs is their adoption of automation throughout the production process. We've included two innovators in the space, each with a slightly different approach to automation.


It is inconceivable that a discussion about electric vehicles should occur without mentioning the powerhouse that is Tesla. The above tour of their Gigafactory had us impressed at the number of clever robotic applications utilised in a single production plant. Earlier in the year, Tesla's founder laid out his 5 step approach to manufacturing & automation and we could agree more! (1)


Arrival is another fantastic example of a start-up EV company creatively applying automation to their production. Unlike Tesla which aims for economies of scale with its huge Gigafactories, Arrival has a very different strategy with a decentralised 'micro factory' approach. The above video gives us a glimpse into how they tackle production. We are very much looking forward to following their developments over the next year!

‍Space Robots

The final frontier. Where nation-states and billionaires have raced to explore and establish dominance over the unchartered and the undiscovered.

2021 brought us to Mars where NASA's Perseverance Rover & Ingenuity Helicopter have been pushing boundaries and expanding our depths of understanding.

NASA Perseverance

AGV Robot

Landing on the Red Planet on February 18 2021, Perseverance Rover's main objective on Mars is to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock & regolith for a possible return to Earth. Findings able to confirm habitability on Mars hold a world of possibilities for us Earthlings so the Perseverance Rover is definitely a robot to be excited about.

‍Ingenuity Helicopter

Automation and robotics

Ingenuity made its journey to Mars attached to the underside of the Perseverance Rover. Soon after its arrival on the planet, Ingenuity successfully executed the first power controlled extra-terrestrial flight by aircraft in April 2021 and completed a total of 18 flights in 2021.

‍Service Robots

Requiring no introductions, the Boston Dynamics & Xiaomi robots have grabbed headlines throughout 2021.

Whilst their intended purposes may be serious and practical, these robots have an unexpectedly entertaining side to them.

Boston Dynamics' Atlas

Atlas robot by Boston Dynamics

Although designed for search and rescue purposes Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot is so much more. Able to perform dance routines, backflips and all manner of parkour tricks, Atlas is an incredibly special robot that can both entertain a crowd and save lives.

Xiaomi Robotic Dog

Robotic dog

As an open-source quadrupedal robot, Xiaomi's robot dog could have countless real-world applications. But if Boston Dynamics' Spot is anything to go by Xiaomi's robot dog will soon be taking on tasks requiring routine inspection & data capture such as policing and health and safety monitoring. The reason Xiaomi truly won our hearts? Its epic promotional trailer is filled with eerie shots of the Robotic Dog looking like a scene straight out of Black Mirror.

Robots Born from Crises

In a year with a heavy focus on Covid-19 and the climate crisis, 2021 has presented the robotics industry's response to the most pressing crises faced in recent years.

Hanson Robotics' Grace

In another year blighted by pandemic-related labour shortages and Covid-related challenges, medical robots have been essential to the successful global response to Covid-19. Hanson Robotics' Grace was designed as a direct response to these challenges. Grace's main functions will be to interact with the elderly living alone and those isolating with Covid-19. She adds a more human touch to the human-robot interaction whilst keeping individuals safe from potential illness.

IADYS Jellyfish Bot

Aquatic robot promoting sustainability

We have all heard about the terrible impacts of ocean plastics and microplastics on the environment, marine life and our own health. IADYS' solution was to develop an innovative system to collect floating waste, oil sprays and hydrocarbons on the surface of water bodies. A great step forward for the sustainable robot sector with a robot that can be widely utilised across the globe.

Just-For-Fun Robots

Chain Saw Sculpting Robot

If you've never watched Stuff Made Here do yourself a favour and check out his videos. The channel is a great example of someone applying robotics and engineering purely for the fun of it and we love seeing someone take all the principles we use day to day and apply them to wacky challenges like building a chainsaw sculpting robot!

That concludes our wrap up of the most exciting robots in 2021.

(1) https://insideevs.com/news/526954/elon-musk-5-steps-success/

Jack Pearson