Advanced Technologies Adoption and Use by U.S. Firms: Evidence from the Annual Business Survey
While robots are usually singled out as a key technology in studies of automation, the overall diffusion of robotics use and testing is very low across firms in the U.S. The use rate is only 1.3% and the testing rate is 0.3%. These levels correspond relatively closely with patterns found in the robotics expenditure question in the 2018 ASM. Robots are primarily concentrated in large, manufacturing firms. The distribution of robots among firms is highly skewed, and the skewness in favor of larger firms can have a disproportionate effect on the economy that is otherwise not obvious from the relatively low overall diffusion rate of robots. The least-used technologies are RFID (1.1%), Augmented Reality (0.8%), and Automated Vehicles (0.8%). Looking at the pairwise adoption of these technologies in Table 14, we find that use of Machine Learning and Machine Vision are most coincident. We find that use of Automated Guided Vehicles is closely associated with use of Augmented Reality, RFID, and Machine Vision.