Say ‘hello’ to your new colleague, the Cobot

Robotics have been around for many years, with the idea of robots helping humans being depicted in Science Fiction in early books, comics and films.  Robots have continued evolving with design and use as we have been working with them to carry out various tasks.

So what is a cobot? Wikipedia defines Cobots as:

A cobot or co-robot (from collaborative robot) is a robot intended to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. This is in contrast with other robots, designed to operate autonomously or with limited guidance, which is what most industrial robots were up until the decade of the 2010s.

Robots have often been seen as a replacement for humans in many roles. Cobots, however are not, they instead work and interact with humans in various tasks and levels. Cobots have been around for the past few years, mainly in industrial workplaces such as manufacturing, automotive and supply chains. Their evolution is now bringing cobots into many other workplaces and use cases.

The automotive industry is probably the best example of using robots that then move to cobots in the workplace, working with humans in assembling cars. The future of the automated car is turning the vehicle into a cobot and will probably be one of the cobots people will interact with the most in the future.

Advancements in cobots are coming from universities and private companies developing new ways of interacting and enhancing tasks/jobs such as:

  • Automotive
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Prosthetics
  • Workplace

Imagine your working buddy is a cobot that can perform tasks hand-in-hand with you, take over if you need to do something else, increase its speed of completing the tasks, then sense your return and slow to the speed you’re working at.

The increase of cobots in the workplace has an impact on legalities in the workplace and many questions still remain unanswered. There are discussions on robot/cobot rights and should they pay taxes (the companies that use them).

There is a growing place for cobots within the workplace and we will be working with them more and more as new cobots and ways of working are produced. However, it may be a while until we get to a fully AI/Cobotic Workplace.

 

References / Further Reading

Classification of “Cobotic Systems” for “Industrial Applications”

Meet the cobots: humans and robots together on the factory floor

High Performance Cobotics

Man and machine: The new collaborative workplace of the future

The robots are coming: legalities in the workplace

Boston Dymanics Robots

 

This post first appeared in Max’s blog.


Max Hemingway — Senior Architect

Max is a senior architect for DXC in the United Kingdom. With more than 25 years of experience, he has a broad and deep range of technical knowledge and is able to translate business needs into IT-based solutions. Currently the chief architect of the BAE Systems account in the UK, Max has a proven track record acquired through continual client engagement and delivery of leading edge infrastructures, all of which have delivered positive results for end-clients, including IT cost reduction, expansion of service capability and increased revenues.

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