The following is from the Robot Report:
“According to a new study published by ABI Research entitled Collaborative Robotics: State of the Market / State of the Art, the collaborative robotics sector is expected to increase roughly tenfold between 2015 and 2020, reaching over $1 billion from approximately $95M in 2015. Insiders suggest more rapid growth: that collaborative lightweight robots will become the top seller in the industry in about 2 years, selling hundreds of thousands of them and with prices falling to the $10,000 price point.” http://www.therobotreport.com/news/whats-hot-in-robotics-whats-changed-or-changing
The driving forces for collaborative robotics are: they don’t need safety fences which makes them cheaper, they are easier to use which means simpler to implement and program, and they are designed to work alongside humans.
Applications that are ideal for collaborative robots involve repetitive motions, often in hard to reach places and harsh environments. Movements that would cause ergonomic issues for humans are also ideal functions to be replicated by collaborative robots.