Airbus are working on humanoid ‘Cobots’ to work on assembly lines.
Footie banter with a few of your work mates may become a little more challenging in the future, Airbus is developing humanoid robots able to work alongside humans on it’s assembly lines.
A joint French-Japanese research program is bringing together robotics experts and the aviation giant with the goal of deploying humanoid robots in aircraft factories.
The program is the culmination of two years of ‘interaction’ that revealed to both parties there is strong potential for development of humanoid workers.
“Given the unique nature of aviation assembly and the specialized character of the tasks involved, Airbus Group has very well-defined needs,” explains Abderrahmane Kheddar, the director of the Joint Robotics Laboratory (JRL) , which is at the heart of the program.
“For instance, robots must be capable of navigating through narrow spaces such as fuselages, and executing complex tasks from a variety of positions.
Adrien Escande, the leader of the joint research program said;
“In short, the manufacturer needs humanoid robots that can make human movements such as kneeling or leaning, and that can perform more sophisticated functions, such as screwing or torqueing.”
Since the creation of the JRL in 2004, Kheddar and his team have made such advanced strides in the development of humanoids or cobots as they are sometimes called, what was the stuff of science fiction, is fast becoming a reality.
While carmakers were early adopters of robotics, the aircraft sector has struggled to make the economics work because it produces lower volumes and has longer production times.
The development of collaborative robots to work alongside humans means more flexible and lighter models can be produced
Existing models are able to crouch and bend like humans do and are equipped with a host of sensors to ensure they stop if they touch or bump into a human.
Airbus insists such robots will not replace workers, a spokesperson said:
“Introducing humanoid technology into aeronautical assembly lines is expected to support human operators in performing the most tedious and physically demanding parts of the manufacturing process, freeing up highly skilled workers to perform higher, value-added tasks,”
It could be a few years before you end up working with a cobot, researchers don’t expect to see them on assembly lines for another 10-15 years. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com