Robot sales will reach $17 billion by 2013 -

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has forecast $17 billion in annual sales in the service robot market, worldwide, by 2013. The World Robotics study comes out every year and looks at global statistics as well as market analysis on service robots.

77,000 service robots were sold globally over the last year making up for a total of $13 billion - then there were an additional 5.6 million units sold for domestic use and 3.1 million for entertainment and leisure by the end of 2009. 

Applications for professional service robots include medical, logistics, inspection and, er, "defence" - we're holding our breath for a real life RoboCop 2. The stock of service robots for professional use is expected to increase by 80,000 units between 2010 and 2013. 

The report says developments are being aimed specifically for the everyday - including bring-and-collect operations such as fetching you drinks, kind of like a Mr Handy in the Fallout series.

There's a focus on domestic duties particularly on simpler tasks, such as watering plants, arranging furniture, picking up junk from the floor and heating up food. The idea is that there should be a RoboFriend in every disadvantaged elderly person's home.

Personal service robots globally are expected to make up 11.4 million units, globally, between 2010 and 2013.

Entertainment and leisure robots includes low cost toy models. Overall they are forecast at 4.6 million units.

Someone familiar with the situation told us: "Replicants are like any other machine - they're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem."