Automotive they make it possible to automate delicate

Automotive
manufacturing car industry is undergoing major changes and transformations.
Digitization introduced new technologies; manufactured products are demanded to
produce in an increasing number of variants while the workforce’s average age
is shifted by the demographic change. All of these factors are important
drivers for creating workplaces where human and robot work together which based
on the Industry 4.0 concept. On the other hand, the field of human-robot collaboration
has experienced a significant increase of interest in the past years, first
from the research community and as well from the industrial community. The
reason lies in key enabling this new technology appearing on the market,
probably most importantly a new generation of lightweight robots which
incorporate different concepts (control software or mechatronic design) allow
to interact with humans while ensuring a certain degree of safety.

Human
beings remain at the center of production. The crucial point is to achieve open
communication and simple integration. A factory staffed by robots alone will
remain an illusion, even in the smart factory. People will remain the central
focus. However, robots will make people’s jobs less arduous, will support people
and give them entirely new capabilities.

In this context, without doubt,
human-robot collaboration will play a key role in Industry 4.0 – not only
directly as part of modern production, but as data gatherers that can
communicate all relevant information to IT systems in real time if required.
This means the current work aims at integrating current technologies in
different areas to create an innovative robotic system for a safe and intuitive
human-robot collaboration. With multisensor-based workspace, they make it
possible to automate delicate assembly tasks in the first place. If unexpected
contact is made, robots will reduce their speed and thus the kinetic energy to
an extent that prevents avoidance of collisions both with itself and with
external objects. In addition, a set of whole-body controllers is used as
building block that describes single actions of a high- level robot behavior
plan. Finally, a modular, robot- agnostic software control framework was used
to seamlessly bind all components together and allow reusing generic software
components to describe a variety of complex manipulation behaviors, whilst
keeping independence from the particular robot hardware. When people and robots
can work safely together, many conventional safety precautions become
superfluous. Additional costs that would normally be required for safety
technology and protective fences can be dispensed with. Workers and robots can
share the same workspace without any concerns. In this way, expensive feed
systems and production floor space can be saved.

 

1.  
Human-robot
Collaboration (HRC)

Human-robot
collaboration, which bases on a decisive principle of Industry 4.0, means human and robot work hand in hand, without
separation and without safety fencing. This means that the machine does not
replace the human, but complements his capabilities and relieves him of arduous
tasks. These can include overhead work, for example, or the lifting of heavy
loads.

 

1.1.       
Background of HRC

Human and robot have
had the first interaction since the 1940’s. In the beginning, the interaction
was primarily unidirectional: simple on-off controls or analog joysticks for
operating manipulator joints and remote vehicles. Over time, as robot has
become more intelligent, the communication between humans and robots has become
more and more like the relationship between two human beings rather than the
nature communication in the past, while human using robot as a passive hand
tool.

During the early 1990s,
human-robot interaction is a field that has emerged and has been characterized
as:

“Human-Robot
interaction (HRI) is a field of study dedicated to understanding, designing,
and evaluating robotic systems for use by or with humans”

(Goodrich and Schultz,
2007, p.204)

What is human-robot
interaction (HRI) and what does it try to achieve?

“The HRI problem is to
understand and shape the interactions between one or more humans and one or
more robots”

(Goodrich and Schultz,
2007, p.216)

The characterization of
the fundamental HRI problem given above focuses on the issues of understanding
what happens between robots and people, and how these interactions can be
shaped, i.e. influenced, improved towards a certain goals etc.

Nowadays, human-robot interaction (HRI) is a relatively young
discipline that has attracted a lot of attention over the past few years due to
the increasing availability of complex robots and people’s exposure to such
robot in the daily life, e.g. as robotic toys or, to some extent, as household
appliances (robotic vacuum cleaners or lawn movers). Also, robots are
increasingly being developed for real world application areas, such as robots
in rehabilitation, eldercare, or robots used in robot-assisted therapy and
other assistive or educational application.

 

1.2.       
The description of how HRC works

As a branch of knowledge, human-robot collaboration (HRC)
regards the analysis, design, modeling, implementation, and evaluation of
robots for human use. HRC is strongly related to human-computer interaction
(HCI) and human-machine interaction (HMI). HRC, however, differs from HCI and
HMI because HRC concerns systems (i.e., robots) which have complex, dynamic
control systems, which exhibit autonomy and cognition, and which operate in
changing, real-world environments. HRC may occur through direct, proximal
interaction (e.g., physical contact) or may be mediated by a user interface
(“operator interface” or “control station”). In the latter case, the interface
acts as a translator: it transforms human input (from hand-controllers or other
control devices) to robot commands and provides feedback via displays. When the
human and robot are separated by a barrier (distance, time, etc.) and
information is exchanged via a communication link, then the interaction is
called teleoperation.

Takeda et al. classify HRC into four categories: Primitive
interaction is communication via computer-based interfaces; Intimate
interaction is direct, one-to-one interaction (e.g., gesture); Loose
interaction is interaction at a distance; Cooperative interaction involves
automatically introducing additional robots and people as needed by the
interaction.

Milgram, Zhai and Drascic claim that for telemanipulation,
human-robot communication can be classified into continuous and discrete
languages. Continuous language represents continuously distributed spatial or
temporal information, e.g., analogue displays and input devices such as mice
and joysticks. Discrete language consists of independent elements such as
spoken commands and interface tools.

Laengle, Hoeniger, and Zhu discuss how humans and robots
can function as a team. Humans perform task planning, monitoring and
supervision. Robots act as intelligent, autonomous assistants and interact
symbolically and physically. This interaction is achieved via natural language,
gestures, and touch.

Sheridan notes that one of the challenges for human-robot
communication is to provide humans and robots with models of each other. In
particular, he claims that the ideal would be analogous to two people who know
each other well and can pick up subtle cues from one another in order to
collaborate (e.g., musicians playing a duet).

In recent years, much of the work in HRC has focused on
making robots more “human”. Specifically, many researchers have been developing
robots which perform human tasks, which exhibit human traits, and which can
interact via natural language and gestures.

 

1.3.       
Human-robot
collaboration in factory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  
German
car industry

2.1.       
Overview
of German car industry

2.1.1.     History

The
automotive industry is the largest industry sector in Germany. It began to be
inspired by the British automotive industry in the late 1860s as the motor-car
pioneers. Later then, in the 1870s, Karl Benz and Nikolaus Otto independently
developed a four-stroke internal combustion engine, with Benz fitting his
design to a coach in 1887, which led to the modern-day motor car. By 1901,
Germany was producing about 900 cars a year and this number is still continuing
to increase throughout the period.

2.1.2.     The
development of German car industry

Between 1860s and 70s: The
origins of the automotive industry are rooted in the development of the
gasoline engine.

Around 1750: 1st Industrial
Revolution

Mechanical production
systematically using the power of water and steam

Around 1900: Power Revolution

Centralized electric power
infrastructure; mass production by division of labor

Around 1970: Digital
Revolution

Digital computing and
communication technology, enhancing systems’ intelligence

Today: Information Revolution

Everybody and everything is
networked – networked information as a “huge brain”.

2.2.       
German
automotive industry nowadays and the challenges

3.     The German automotive industry has a head start when it comes to the
development of highly efficient combustion engines.  Up until now, it is being home to the modern
car, the German automobile industry is regarded as the most competitive and
innovative in the world, and has the third highest car production in the world,
and fourth highest total motor vehicle production. With an annual output close
to six million and a 35.6% share of the European Union (2008). Despite
relatively high wages, long vacations, and strong labor laws and regulations,
Germany remains a global leader in many manufacturing sectors. Last year,
automotive and industrial exports helped the country post a record trade
surplus of 198.9 billion euros ($269 billion). One reason: automation.
Contemporary German auto manufacturing exploits advanced manufacturing
technologies to increase productivity and profits. However, there are still
some major challenges for the automobile industry, which can be summed up as
follows:

4.     > Development of efcient vehicles

5.     > Development of alternative propulsion concepts

6.     > Retaining the position of the German automobile
industry as a technology leader and manufacturer of premium products on the
global market

7.     > Complementing the product portfolio with new micro
and city car concepts.

8.     > Penetrating the growth markets in the BRICS
countries and managing the crisis in Europe

9.     > Reducing the number of vehicle platforms in spite of
continued differentiation of the product portfolio

10.  > Participation in the introduction of new mobility
concepts

 

10.1.     Robots in German car industry

It can not be denied
that robots have made their biggest mark in the automotive world but it took
decades of refinement to get there. Today,having robots is vital if one wants
to be competitive in making automotive plants. Robots in modern world are
getting more and more sophisticated than ever. Many are semi-autonomous, with
machine vision systems can adapt easily to a changing environment. Some can
even work side-by-side with humans. All signs suggest a panorama where we find
ourself living in a new industrial robot boom. Let take a look at at Audi’s A3
body shop in Ingolstadt where the robots numbers are roughly equal compare to
the number of 800 employees. Their jobs are to undertake most of the heavy
lifting, responsible for potentially dangerous spot welding and bonding, as
well as tediously repetitive testing. To Bernd Mlekusch, head of technology
development production at Audi, the benefits of automation include much higher
productivity and reduced demand for untrained workers. At the same time,
workers with more training and greater specialization are increasingly needed,
he says. The next generation of robots to work alongside humans are likely to
be even faster and more powerful, making them considerably more useful but also
necessitating more sophisticated safety systems.

To sum up, robots were
utilized to reduce costs and increase production as they can do the job quicker
than their human counterpart, efficient in their jobs, offer more speed and
accuracy than the human workers, yet as time has gone by; they got good savings,
and higher quality, at the same time. The automotive industry observed that it
can and needed to utilize robots for quality and consistency. Robots usually
can be found in these applications that grabbed our attention such as Robotic
Painting, Robotic Vision, Collaborative Robots, Robotic Hand and Collaborative
Robotics.

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