A police officer demonstrates how to use a Taser. Photo: Paul Zinken/picture alliance/Getty Images

Ten years ago, Axon started using robots to assemble cartridges for its flagship product, the Taser. Automation helped the Arizona-based giant bring production back into the U.S. and boosted its output by four times.

The big picture: This is why factory automation is predicted to be worth nearly $370 billion worldwide by 2025, up from $191 billion in 2017. Robots build quickly and cheaply, and they don't make mistakes or get tired.

Since Axon began automating manufacturing in 2009, it has bought $18 million worth of automated equipment, the company tells Axios.

  • But as its output has grown, its workforce has, too — from 120 to 420 manufacturing personnel.
  • An Axon spokesperson tells Axios that automation is "not about replacing jobs — it's about using automation to free up our workforce to do different jobs." This is a common refrain among companies that don't want to be seen as unfeelingly replacing humans with robots.

Reality check: They can't replace people yet, even if they wanted to.

  • As we reported this week, robots aren't yet dextrous enough to handle delicate assembly, or flexible enough to deal with any uncertainty in the production line.
  • When robots are cheaper and more capable, you can bet that companies will start cutting staff.

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Dave Lawler, author of World
48 mins ago - World

A hinge moment for America's role in the world

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photo: Saul Loeb/AFP

The world may be living through the last gasps of America First — or just getting a taste of what's to come.

Why it matters: President Trump's message at this week's virtual UN General Assembly was short and relatively simple: global institutions like the World Health Organization are weak and beholden to China; international agreements like the Iran deal or Paris climate accord are "one-sided"; and the U.S. has accomplished more by going its own way.

New York daily coronavirus cases top 1,000 for first time since June

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

New York on Friday reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the first since June.

Why it matters: The New York City metropolitan area was seen as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the spring. But strict social distancing and mask mandates helped quell the virus' spread, allowing the state to gradually reopen.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 32,647,382 — Total deaths: 990,473 — Total recoveries: 22,527,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 7,053,171 — Total deaths: 204,093 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,488,275Map.
  3. States: U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.