Increases in industrial R&D are the highest recorded since the early 1980s, according to a report to Congress by the National Science Board. Expenditures on R&D performed in the U.S. exceeded $200 billion for the first time in 1997. All three categories of R&D funding--basic research, applied research, and development--are at their highest levels in both current and constant dollars. Profit-making companies are responsible for all of the growth. Last year industrial firms spent $3 out of every $4 invested in R&D in the U.S. Federal R&D funding, especially for defense research, has fallen almost continuously in real terms for a decade. The report attributes the gain in industrial investment to stiff global competition, the surge in information technology, and record profits. The electrical equipment industry exhibited the highest percentage rise.
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
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