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There are now 1 million industrial robots toiling around the world, and Japan is where they’re the thickest on the ground. It has 295 of these electromechanical marvels for every 10 000 manufacturing workers—a robot density almost 10 times the world average and nearly twice that of Singapore (169), South Korea (164), and Germany (163).
Although the top three countries are in Asia, Europe gets the regional title as the epicenter of global automation; it has a robot density of 50, compared to 31 in the Americas and 27 in the Asia/Pacific region.
IEEE Spectrum computed the robot density for 67 nations in all, using data from the International Federation of Robotics and the International Labour Organization [see http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/dec08/robodata (to come) for the complete list].
By 2011, the world’s industrial robot population is expected to rise to 1.2 million. Which countries these new robots will call home—and how the machine-to-human balance will change—remains to be seen.