Robots are becoming far more cost effective, letting them move into non-automotive applications.
The industrial robotics marketplace is still largely focused on the automotive industry, but that's beginning to change. As Detroit goes through another cyclical downturn, robot manufacturers are beginning to shift their focus to other applications.
That's helped by pricing declines and advances in technology that together make robots more cost effective. Perhaps even more importantly, robots are becoming easier to program, so companies don't need sophisticated engineers to get them working. Sensor technologies like machine vision are also becoming far simpler to use.
Together, all these advances should help robots take over tasks that have required a bit more sophistication such as assembly. Moving into more applications should help the industry grow without the slowdowns it's seen when automakers suffer.