Ford's robot helps disabled assembly line workers, promotes inclusiveness
- Ford's new robot is capable of performing tasks that are difficult for differently-abled persons.
US auto major Ford has developed a robot that helps the differently-abled workers in the assembly lines of its factories. Christened Robbie, the cobot or collaborative robot, as Ford describes it, has become a permanent member of the automaker's workforce. The automaker also claimed to have tested the robot for 18 months before deploying it on the assembly line.
The automaker claims this robot will aid the assembly line workers who have disabilities and are challenged with easy mobility. This will help them in jobs in manufacturing without the need for protective devices or safety barriers. It takes up the tasks that are otherwise difficult or impossible for people who are differently-abled. Now, with the robot successfully performing its tasks in Ford's manufacturing facility, the automaker is planning to install more such robots in its production plans to widen the working opportunities to a more diverse range of workers.
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To develop this robot, Ford joined hands with RWTH Aachen University and Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR), which is the largest service provider for disabled people in Germany. LVR claimed to have provided around $399,000 for the project.
This is not the first time an automaker has deployed a robot to perform tasks in its manufacturing facility. Several automakers have already adopted similar strategies to install robots in their manufacturing facilities, where those robots perform different tasks that are otherwise difficult for human workers.
Ford itself has been already using Boston Dynamics' robot dogs to 3D scan the factory floor. These robot dogs can see areas that traditional detection methods are not able to see. With this strategy, Ford claims to have become more efficient in retooling its facilities. Hyundai too has been using the same robot dog in its plants for better manufacturing operations.