Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is part of a group of modern technologies that are being developed at absurd speeds. Included in this group of emerging technologies is robotics. Robots, and especially the idea of robots, have been around for quite some time (my parents watched the Jetsons when they were kids…).
Recently, there have been vast advances in the independent intelligence of robots. Driverless cars are constantly being tested and legislation is being pushed through various countries to allow for their use on public roads.
Technologies do not emerge in a vacuum setting; they are the product of other influences and ideas of the times. 3D printing and robotics will surely have continued influences and coordinated advancements. Maybe there will be driverless vehicles with 3D printing abilities which they use to 3D print structures to fill in potholes! Imagine a souped up street cleaner that can navigate the streets through GPS and intelligently clean, repair, or investigate all at the same time. Or imagine an intelligent drone with an integrated 3D printing interface that can fly to hard to reach places and structures that require repairs and inspections. A 3D printing drone could possibly print circuitry or structural supports that keep the device operational. Maybe there will be 3D printing capabilities on space exploration robots that can help make new parts and repairs while exploring Mars.