For the first time, humanoid robots are set to be deployed in an automotive production plant in the US. This has been made possible by the development of increasingly sophisticated and intelligent models in recent years.
The American company Figure has announced that it has signed an agreement with the BMW Group to introduce its humanoid robots into a first vehicle production plant.
Figure is a startup that has caused a sensation in recent months with its first humanoid robot model, which has a human-like body (1.70 m, 60 kg) capable of moving at 4 km/h and carrying loads of up to 20 kg. An important detail is that it is equipped with articulated fingers, rather than grippers like many other humanoid robots, allowing it to better manipulate certain objects.
In the context of car production, these robots will be required to perform tasks that are often considered difficult, tedious or even dangerous for humans throughout the car manufacturing process. The idea is for workers to focus more on skills and processes that cannot (yet) be automated, as well as on production line safety. In fact, workers will be responsible for monitoring the robots’ behaviour.
The integration of these robots will also involve automatic learning. They will need to master all their actions, and be programmed for each of their tasks. In fact, Figure recently demonstrated one of its robots learning to operate a coffee machine.
To do this, the robot had to observe all the actions involved on video, before reproducing them and correcting them to ensure they were as precise as possible. In all, this “training” lasted 10 hours.
Initially, Figure is set to identify the most practical cases for use in automotive production. Robots will then begin to be deployed at BMW’s manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Ultimately, these robots should enable automakers to increase productivity while reducing costs.
In the US, other companies such as Tesla and Boston Dynamics are also working on humanoid robot projects.
– AFP Relaxnews