The Difference Between Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

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Austria vs. Australia, astronomy vs. astrology, Matthew McConaughey vs. that other guy in “Sweet Home Alabama.”So close — but not really. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are suffering the same fate as Gemini’s hoping to foresee their future by watching Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos.” While Robotics and AI are often associated with one another, these two fields originate from entirely different disciplines. Read on to learn how companies like Tomahawk Robotics are leveraging these two different, yet complementary, technologies to solve important problems.


Often used interchangeably, it is important for industry professionals to properly differentiate between these two technologies.  The world of Computer Science claims AI as it relates to the computation, reasoning, and instruction within a computer operation. Robotics, on the other hand, branches from the hardware engineering camp and deals with machines having autonomous (or semi-autonomous) abilities to carry out tasks, which often mitigates various risks, on behalf of people. With this divide established, it is clear to see how these two technologies have operated independently from one another since their inception.


Robots can be programmed for tasks with varying degrees of complexity. While some robots have the ability to qualify for the 2020 Olympic games, some are programmed with no perceivable intelligence at all. Dell anticipates that $180 billion will be invested in smart robots by early 2020. As hardware grows in sophistication, robots engage in more complex tasks. Smart robots bear little resemblance to dystopian androids, like Marvel’s Ultron. Scientists are programming robots with sensors and manipulators that have disrupted the manufacturing world, as well as fields like the military, assisted living, and education. Modern-day robots are a testament to the symbiotic relationship between machines and human beings, programming robots to solve the dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks of today.

Artificial Intelligence

While the goal of robotics is to complete tasks that would otherwise require human capital, AI focuses on developing programs and algorithms that function on a level comparable to the complexity of human intelligence. From generating your Netflix feed based on your preferences to discerning ethical boundaries to monitor surveillance feeds, AI utilizes problem-solving, reasoning, language, pattern detection, and self-learning to improve the modern world. Where robots enhance productivity and improve daily rhythms by integrating themselves into the human world, AI reflects the nuances of human behavior through the technological world.


While these two scientific fields exist independent of one another, they do intersect often with great success. Artificially intelligent robots demonstrate the best of both worlds. Yesterday’s breakthroughs in robotics were characterized by disrupting assembly lines and redefining productivity whereas today’s innovations are characterized by smart robot utilization from companies like Tomahawk Robotics.

Built on the standard architecture of ROS, Kinesis disrupts the world of unmanned systems by unifying UAS/UGV control through an intuitive interface. Supporting mesh/cellular communications, this access to distributed information sources and the cloud augments the sophisticated processing of AI to enable continual self-learning and custom data analytics. Visit Tomahawk Robotics to learn more about the applications of smart robots.

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