In May’s issue of Automation World, Vecna CTO Daniel Theobald weighs in on robots working collaboratively in peopled environments.
Robots that operate independently, blockaded behind light curtains and other barriers, will soon give way to collaborative robots that work interactively with humans. Design teams are already employing sensors and software to help robots work closely with people to handle heavy payloads while working in close proximity with people.
The easiest way to create a collaborative robot is to ensure that movements are so slow and gentle that they couldn’t hurt a person or damage equipment. Though that might work in medical environments and other fields where heavy payloads are measured in grams, it’s not a viable solution in most industrial applications.
“That approach does not advance the use of automation in industrial, warehouse, or construction applications where heavy machinery is required and robotics can create a real economic impact,” says Daniel Theobald, CTO at Vecna. “To enable industrial robots to operate in close proximity and in cooperation with humans, they need several layers of sensing and motion control.”
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