Updated June 6, 2023
Introduction to Automata
Automata is a phenomenon where a series of processes or activities are operated and controlled by an automated logical method. As it involves lesser manual contributions, it does not require much programming skills, takes lesser manual effort, is more efficient for performing monotonous task flow, and can be applied to any kind of product from various business areas. On the other hand, it has disadvantages; for instance, failure in one point in the middle can block the whole automata flow, higher cost for implementation and maintenance, and not secure like the traditional methods.
Why do we Need Automata?
Automata have improved efficiency by making low-skill and repeatable processes easier and more efficient while improving productivity, quality, and turnaround time and reducing costs. Automation finds extensive usage in practically every facet of industrial manufacturing and assembly processes, from power generation to steel manufacturing and automotive assembly lines to food and agricultural industries.
Automation finds application in all these industries by reducing human involvement and creating a standardized process. Automation cuts down production line errors that result from human involvement. Cognitive automation is a part of based cognitive computing that aims to automate clerical work, which consists of structuring unstructured data, document production, document synthesis, natural language search, manual verification, system-generated email communications, and contract management (van der Aalst, Bichler, & Heinzl, 2018).
Working of Automata
Automata can work as discrete on-and-off control systems, often used in household appliances like thermostats which work on feedback control mechanisms for more complex industrial applications. Computer-aided technologies are the basis of organizational tools for creating complex logical systems using mathematics.
CAx systems include Computer-Aided Design and Computer-aided manufacturing software, which improves design and manufacturing processes. Information technology is used with industrial robotics and processes to create control systems in which Programmable Logic controllers and PICs are synchronized with computers and receive input from physical sensors. Special microprocessors and programs have enabled computers to analyze and process data through a network of instruments, controllers, and sensors to perform individual actions or complex control systems based on multiple inputs using mathematical calculations.
Such automation can create real-time graphics, analyze reports using data, and perform complex mathematical and logical calculations to undertake different tasks related to various industrial and domestic applications. Programs such as AI-based applications and control systems perform complex tasks based on inputs from a networked system of computers and sensors (Royakkers & van Est, 2015).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Automata
Below are the advantages and disadvantages of automata:
- Automation has increased industrial productivity and has led to faster production of goods.
- It has improved the quality and consistency of products. Products have become better and free from any manufacturing defects.
- It has reduced labor expenditure and has improved the consistency of production processes.
- It has reduced operational cycle times and improved accuracy and consistency in operations requiring monotonous and hard physical labor.
- Automated Robotics have replaced humans in dangerous working environments such as nuclear plants, corrosive environments, and hazardous material handling.
- It has reduced human labor in monotonous jobs and freed up labor that can work in supervising and maintenance positions for automated systems.
- Disadvantages of automation occur due to the failure of automated systems, which can lead to security threats and vulnerability from cyber-attacks, leading to system breakdown. The system multiplies errors if not stopped.
- Automation incurs high development and maintenance costs. It is also expensive to incorporate robotics and automated systems in existing frameworks.
- Automation can potentially displace workers from jobs (Gomez & Paradells, 2010).
- Automated systems lack full autonomous control and fail to take complex logical decisions outside their programming.
Scope for Automation
- The general scope of automata is in the field of repetitive, monotonous tasks. Automation also finds a scope in hazardous environments and working conditions such as mining, fire safety systems, and hazardous industrial production processes such as automobile assembly plants where robotics has replaced humans. Industrial Automation has speeded production processes, increased production capacity, and reduced production times (Manyika, 2017).
- Robotics based on automation programming can perform extremely delicate tasks such as circuit board assembly, precision tooling, and automatic welding, which require negligible errors in production. AI-based automation has also found applications in Aeronautics and the space industry, such as autonomous vehicles and satellites which can make independent decisions through complex computer algorithms and solve difficult situational problems. They have built-in logical decision-making systems.
- Automation also can transform the battlefield through remote sensing, autonomous vehicles, autonomous drones, and robots designed to put the soldier out of harm’s way. Automated retail operations such as the smart assistant use of robots in stores and applications which help in processing online transactions and promote the concept of self-checkout in retail stores.
- Automated video surveillance systems, such as visual surveillance and monitoring (VSAM) programs, help in traffic control; highways are also becoming automated using automatic signal control systems. Autonomous vehicles such as driverless cars and trucks can also ease traffic congestion and improve road safety (Arntz, Gregory, & Zierahn, 2016). Business processes can also be automated using robotic process automation (RPA or RPAAI for self-guided RPA 2.0, and BPA’s using AI-based applications.
- Home Automation involves building a smart home with autonomous appliances and security systems operating on a smart energy grid. Laboratory medical applications automate production processes and use logical models to calculate the outcomes of medical trials. Robotics-assisted surgery and remote medical care also use automated control systems (Kehoe, Patil, Abbeel, & Goldberg, 2015).
Automata have the potential to make the work process more efficient and reduce costs. It can make work easier and safer and put human beings out of harm’s way. Automation has come a long way with technological advances such as AI-based programming and machine learning, which can potentially improve data-driven decision-making processes. With new computational technologies and advances in programming, automation can take over every facet of human life.
This has been a guide to What is Automata? Here we discuss the need, working, advantages, and disadvantages of automata. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –