Star Wars: The Old Republic looks to put a new spin on the concept of crafting, materials gathering, and engaging in smaller submissions. While you will still have the option go do it yourself, if you were so inclined you could take some of your unused companions and put them to work. They will no longer be forced to just wait around the ship for you to return. They will be able to go out and get things done on their own. They can craft, explore, trade, and ultimately do great things to help you in your mission.