Automate 2023

Democratizing Robotics

Democratizing Robotics

Sue Nicole Susenburger - Vice President, Wandelbots USA

Programming industrial robots is highly complex and often time-consuming. This raises a high barrier for small and mid-sized businesses that lack the resources to build up, program and maintain automated processes. However, the shortage of skilled workers, especially in high-skilled jobs like welding, forces businesses to move towards automation and robotics. In recent years, we have seen many approaches from different companies trying to create products that enhance human-machine interactions. Democratizing robots means enabling everyone to work with robots. And that means making it as easy to teach a robot as possible. Every welder, every sander, every painter, and everyone else on the shop floor needs to be enabled to become a robot operator. A user-centric programming approach based on motion, rather than program code, allows easier access to industrial robots for a wider group of users. Demonstration-based programming can ensure that robots can be used in a more flexible and diverse industrial context and allows a more dynamic and collaborative human-robot interaction. By mimicking the manual processes that have been established and already optimized before, robots are taking on tasks in work environments that are harmful to humans. Within the next several years, the manufacturing market will make a radical shift since new technologies in robot teaching will introduce a new era of human-robot interaction. We need to strive for a world where unsustainable and inhumane jobs change into creative and fulfilling pursuits so that life becomes better for everyone. We need to build human-centered solutions that make robots helpful companions in the automation industry and beyond. We should have the profound belief that future generations of robotics should empower everyone. 

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