Humanoid Robots – Are They Ready to Walk with Us?

Seoul, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego

February 13th, 2019

Walking is not easy for robots, if it was, there would be robots walking everywhere by now.

It is a widely believed misconception that it is difficult to develop a robot with a brain like a human, yet relatively easy to design a robot to walk like a human.

Today’s humanoid robots are generally quite good at following specific tasks, but there is no general AI involved here. They still need to be controlled by an operator via a laptop or controller box. When carrying out a task, the robot is following specific coded instructions sent by the operator such as “Move Forward” or “Stop” in order to complete a simple task such as opening a door.

“Today’s robots lack the ability to learn new skills for themselves such as picking up an object and placing it somewhere else. Instead, they need to be programmed to carry out specific tasks”, said Gareth Owen, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research. “To do useful things, a robot needs to be able to adapt ‘on-the-fly’ to new situations”, he added.

Humanoid robots such as Boston Dynamics’ Atlas may have become stars on social media sites such as YouTube. However, that success has not translated into significant revenues for the tech companies developing these robots.

Key technical challenges include improvements in machine learning-driven 360˚ vision technologies, battery technologies and advances in new learning methods such as Imitation Learning and Reinforcement Learning, while commercial challenges primarily revolve around component cost reduction.

“At Counterpoint Research we believe that a mass-market world of self-learning, intelligent two-legged robots is still more than 10 years away”, said Owen. “However, a commercial market for legged robots designed to carry out very specific tasks, following in the footsteps of wheeled robots developed for agricultural and other vertical applications, may develop in the next five years.” This market will be led primarily by Chinese tech companies who are best placed to leverage economies of scale in robotics components such as servo-actuators, batteries, etc.

Counterpoint Research’s new robotics report, part of its Emerging Technology Opportunities service provides a comprehensive overview of the humanoid robot market outlining near-term market opportunities as part of a 10+ year roadmap and highlights the key market drivers and challenges, both technical and commercial, that must be overcome before a mass-market industry is created.

Key companies mentioned in the report include Art Robot, Agility Robotics, Boston Dynamics, Honda and UBTech.

This report is available for subscribing clients and for purchase on our research portal. Please feel free to reach out to us at press(at) for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press enquiries.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in high-tech industries.

Press release contact:

Gareth Owen

+44 741 319 0167
[email protected]