Automation that Empowers: Mobile Robotics and the Workforce

2 minutes to read

Daniel Theobald, Founder and CIO of Vecna Robotics, makes an appearance on FreightWave’s “What the Truck?!?” to discuss the first autonomous mobile robot (AMR) interoperability standard and how it allows for robots of differing vendors to work together. Theobald also delves into topics such as supply chain automation that empowers workers, the unique strengths of humans, and misconceptions regarding mobile robotics and the labor force.

AMRs are a rapidly growing segment of industrial automation, and are being integrated into many types facilities on a nationwide level to meet rising consumer demand. The standard provides the ability for customers to “plug-and-play” solutions from different companies, offering coordination and shared data from a mixed fleet of mobile robots. This new standard will likely have a positive impact on the adoption rate of automation in months to come.

Listen to Theobald discuss automation that empowers and more at 33:00.

This episode also discusses how automation affects workers, both directly and indirectly. Theobald states that when implemented correctly, mobile robotics can be incredibly empowering to employees. “People are what matter,” says Theobald, “We want to help people focus on jobs they’re excited about. Let robots to the boring, dirty and dull stuff.”

When robots take over repetitive and tedious tasks, workers can be moved onto value-added positions. Humans can engage problem-solving skills that will improve their job satisfaction rather than driving from one side of the warehouse to the other – which is actually where many accidents occur. Many material handling facilities have over a 300% turnover rate, and letting robots carry out dangerous or boring tasks will help to reduce this.

Theobald points out that many view automation as a zero-sum game, meaning that people believe when robots do some work, there is less work for humans. He expresses that the opposite is often true, citing studies that show integrating automation effectively lets businesses stay competitive and leads to the hiring of more workers. Theobald adds: “Robots working with humans is the key to success for everyone.”

Read more on this topic here.