Service Robotics: How Ready are Consumers to Adopt and What Drives Acceptance?

Rockbridge’s Principal, Chief Methodologist and Founder, Charles Colby recently presented at the Frontiers in Service Conference in Bergen, Norway.  His presentation examines the introduction of intelligent robots to take over tasks performed by consumers or employees.  Examples of robotic services in the future may include: renting a car that also performs the driving, riding in a taxi cab without a driver, receiving a package delivered by air by a pilotless drone, interacting with a robotic server at a restaurant, or having manual housework performed by a robotic servant.

The presentation reveals interesting findings on general acceptance of robotics in addition to a causal analysis of factors behind acceptance.  For example: consumers have a high level of interest in a robotic servant to handle menial labor at home (e.g., cleaning toilets and vacuuming), but little interest in riding in a driverless taxi.  Consumers strongly believe there is a risk of becoming too dependent on robots, but ironically, this concern tends not to significantly dampen interest in robots.  On the other hand, concern with getting robots to operate properly and fear of harm from them are significantly-negative correlates.  Acceptance of robots and robotic services correlates with technology readiness, measured by our TRI 2.0 scale.