The future will see a dramatic increase in the number of robots used in the automotive industry. Well established applications, such as resistance spot welding, will continue to grow in the short term. Longer term, the much wider use of structural adhesives will supplant the spot welding process with robots applying the adhesives. Practical perception systems will enhance robot performance in arc welding, grinding, fettling, seam sealing and assembly operations, leading again to robot growth as vital elements of truly flexible manufacturing systems (FMS). A major robotic impact will be made in automotive paint shops as the need to conserve energy increases. The development of alternative painting materials, offering improved performance will add further impetus. Robotics of the future will progressively move to a CAD/CAM orientated data base, offering off-line programming capability, which together with essential inspection elements, will provide the means for totally automatic manufacture.