Robots are picking up quickly, just take a look at this little bugger which managed to go into a more or less unexplored silver mine in San Jose and scan the whole thing. It was equipped with a laser scanner and made more than 80 scans a day creating over 100 million data points that formed the map.
The purpose of the exercise was so that if the heights or shapes of certain parts of the cavern changed, a precursor to collapses or other trouble, the people running the operation would be able to notice it ahead of time and either support the area or keep everyone away from it. So basically this robot has the potential of saving lives.
This is just one use for this particular machine though. I’m sure now that its proven itself worthy its uses will be greatly expanding, it may not be an R2 unit or C3-PO, but its nice to see robots being used in places where you never thought you’d see them.