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Industrial Automation

By Jeff Morgan, Trinity College Dublin

Robots have been taking our jobs since the 1960s. So why are politicians and business leaders only now becoming so worried about robots causing mass unemployment?

The Weekly Drone Roundup is a newsletter from the Center for the Study of the Drone. It covers news, commentary, analysis and technology from the drone world.

This week features HEPHAESTUS: Highly automatEd PHysical Achievements and performancES using cable roboTs Unique SysHighly automatEd PHysical Achievements and performancES using cable roboTs Unique Systemstems.

Emily – short for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard – is a remote-controlled rescue boat used by lifeguards to save people’s life at sea (Photo: Hydrolanix – EMILY robot)

This article was first published on the IEC e-tech website.

Rapid advances in technology are revolutionizing the roles of aerial, terrestrial and maritime robotic systems in disaster relief, search and rescue (SAR) and salvage operations. Robots and drones can be deployed quickly in areas deemed too unsafe for humans and are used to guide rescuers, collect data, deliver essential supplies or provide communication services.

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) cites that between 2010 and 2016, 136,748 robots were shipped to the US —the most in any seven-year period in the US robotics industry. At the same time, US manufacturing employment increased by 894,000 and the unemployment rate fell from 9.8% to 4.7%.

I’ve written a few times that perhaps the biggest unsolved problem in robocars is how to know we have made them safe enough. While most people think of that in terms of government certification, the truth is that the teams building the cars are very focused on this, and know more about it than any regulator, but they still don’t know enough. The challenge is going to be convincing your board of directors that the car is safe enough to release, for if it is not, it could ruin the company that releases it, at least if it’s a big company with a reputation.

interview by   -   June 24, 2017

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Sergey Levine, assistant professor at UC Berkeley, about deep learning on robotics. Levine explains what deep learning is and he discusses the challenges of using deep learning in robotics. Lastly, Levine speaks about his collaboration with Google and some of the surprising behavior that emerged from his deep learning approach (how the system grasps soft objects).

In addition to the main interview, Audrow interviewed Levine about his professional path. They spoke about what questions motivate him, why his PhD experience was different to what he had expected, the value of self-directed learning,  work-life balance, and what he wishes he’d known in graduate school.

Advances in robotics and AI have led to modern commercial drone technology, which is changing the fundamental way enterprises interact with the world. Drones bridge the physical and digital worlds. They enable companies to combine the power of scalable computing resources with pervasive, affordable sensors that can go anywhere. This creates an environment in which businesses can make quick, accurate decisions based on enormous datasets derived from the physical world.

interview by and   -   June 9, 2017
Credit: sk.ru


In this episode, Audrow Nash and Christina Brester conduct interviews at the 2016 International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation conference in Moscow, Russia. They speak with Vadim Kotenev of Rehabot and Motorica about prosthetic hands and rehabilatative devices; and Vagan Martirosyan, CEO of TryFit, a company that uses robotic sensors to help people find shoes that fit them well.

interview by   -   May 28, 2017


In this episode, Abate De Mey speaks with Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics, about warehouse automation with collaborative robots. At Locus Robotics, they increase the productivity of workers in e-commerce warehouses by using robot helpers to transport items that are passed to them by the workers. The lightweight autonomous robots move at a similar pace to their co-workers, use LIDAR and computer vision to detect people and avoid collisions. This allows people to share the warehouse floor with the robots. The collaborative robotic system is lightweight and can be adapted to existing warehouses with minimal alterations.

MIT spinout New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS) has brought to market the only fully automated commercial 3-D printer that’s equipped with cloud-based queuing and automatic part removal, making print jobs quicker and easier for multiple users, and dropping the cost per part.

If you haven’t used a 3-D printer yet, you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t fully automated the way your office’s inkjet is.

Oliver Mitchell talks about construction robotics and new robots being added to the field.

Heavy Water Components Test Reactor decommissioning.

How can we create robots that can carry out important tasks in dangerous environments? Machine learning is supporting advances in the field of robotics. To find out more, we talked to Dr Rustam Stolkin, Royal Society Industry Fellow for Nuclear Robotics, Professor of Robotics at the University of Birmingham, and Director at A.R.M Robotics Ltd, about his work combining machine learning and robotics to create practical solutions to nuclear problems.

by   -   April 27, 2017

Delivery robots are touted as gaining widespread popularity in the near future. Wheeled models could be suitable for urban areas, while UAVs have great potential in accessing difficult areas and carrying a variety of payloads. But first we have to overcome technical barriers, safety issues and more than a few legal aspects.

Philip Yuan, Chinese architect and professor at Tongji University, along with three researchers from his group, visited ETH Zurich and the NCCR Digital Fabrication. In his lecture, Yuan presented his approach to digital fabrication and its relationship to form, space, structure and materiality through a compilation of recent projects by his office, Archi-Union and works by his research group at Tongji University.

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