Autonomy as a service is the offering of automated, fully unmanned systems by a service provider. The offering enables companies with little experience in automation to utilize automated systems they would be otherwise unable to manage. Under autonomy as a service, maintenance remains the responsibility of the automation provider.
This outsourced automation is used in autonomous mail sorting centers such as PostNL and 4G LTE, autonomous drone swarms created by Unmanned Life and the unmanned market aisle-cleaning systems of Brain Corp, for a few examples.
Unmanned Life’s autonomous drones could be used for delivery from webstores, retail phone orders and restaurant deliveries. Autonomous delivery drones could speed delivery, while reducing traffic and fuel consumption. Autonomous mail and shipping systems would speed delivery too, at the same time reducing dangerous work where injuries are common. Brain Corp’s cleaning robots' BrainOS allows them to handle tasks such as aisle sweeping, mopping and polishing in cluttered environments. The robots navigate around humans safely.
Autonomy as a service is considered a part of the fourth industrial revolution, the current and developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way we live and work.
As is common with automation, autonomy as a service does take over tasks a human might perform for employment, potentially leading to what some are calling the robot economy. Due to this human replacement, many who have difficulty finding employment may not see this automation as progress. One solution proposed to deal with the employment problem is the provision of a basic living allowance.
See an introduction to Brain Corp's automation: