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Current examples of robotics research

Christiane Wild-Raidt

Christiane Wild-Raidt >

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Whether at work, in the car, or at home – robotics has the potential to improve people’s quality of life. In industry, robots will reduce the burdens placed on people by taking over hazardous and physically arduous activities. They can also support people in their private lives – but will not replace them.

In its research, Bosch focuses on the foundations and basic technologies for future generations of robots.

APAS

  • What is it?
APAS stands for automatic production assistant. It was developed to work safely with people.
  • Features
The APAS systems (APAS assistant, APAS inspector) reduce the burdens placed on people by taking over hazardous, arduous, and monotonous activities. The robot is equipped with a sensor skin and stops if a person comes too close to it.
  • Tasks
The APAS assistant can perform palletizing tasks, load heavy objects onto machines, or carry out packaging work. The APAS inspector can perform quality checks and has artificial intelligence. It can learn new tasks intuitively and rapidly. Both systems can be flexibly adapted to a wide variety of workspaces.
  • Research aim
To further develop a robotics system that can flexibly, intelligently, and safely master the challenges of connected manufacturing (industry 4.0), such as situations where there are more variants in a smaller batch, all the way to one-off production.

Dual-arm robot

  • What is it?
The dual-arm robot is made for industrial applications. Modeled on the human torso, it has two arms.
  • Features
Thanks to its “physique,” the dual-arm robot has capabilities that are similar to those of a human. It can, for example, grasp objects with great precision. The dual-arm robot can be deployed in human workspaces without the need to make changes to these spaces.
  • Tasks
Unlike APAS, this robot assumes tasks where putting its arms around an object or grasping objects with precision are required. This means it can hold an object with one arm, say, and work on it with the other. The two-armed robot is very light and can lift smaller loads.
  • Research aim
Movement coordination will be further enhanced on the basis of the dual-arm robot. Furthermore, machine learning methods will be tested by having the robot learn new manufacturing tasks through simple imitation.

ITA

  • What is it?
ITA is an intelligent transport assistant.
  • Features
The robot adapts flexibly to changes in its environment. It can also immediately adapt to new tasks. If it encounters people as it moves around, ITA signals the direction it wants to take, warning people if they need to get out of the way. At a doorway, ITA decides whether to make way for people or go through itself first.
  • Tasks
ITA is a robot that can be deployed in human environments such as office buildings or factory shop floors. Its purpose is to transport small objects, such as tools.
  • Research aim
ITA prototypes are used to test and further enhance machine learning methods for a variety of robotics applications.

Spencer

  • What is it?
Spencer stands for social situation-aware perception and action for cognitive robots. This means that Spencer has artificial intelligence and is able to learn from experience and develop social skills.
  • Features
Spencer can find its way around in crowds of people. It knows its destination and how to get there. In doing so, it perceives people in its surroundings and takes social norms into consideration, such as keeping a minimum distance between itself and a person. At Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, an experiment was carried out for two weeks in March 2016, in which Spencer took passengers for connecting flights to their gate. On its way, it updated them constantly regarding how far they were from the gate. It also provided this information to the airline.
  • Tasks
Safely and quickly leading people from A to B.
  • Research aim
Developing key technologies such as artificial intelligence, which allow robots to learn and to acquire social skills. This is important for all robots that are deployed in a human environment, whether in the workplace or the home.

Kuri

  • What is it?
Kuri, the adorable home robot, was developed by the Bosch start-up Mayfield Robotics in the U.S.
  • Features
Kuri is not a trendy tech gadget. Rather, it is able to learn to memorize certain faces and integrate with the people in its surroundings. Through head and eye movements, forward motion, and its light-up “heart,” it can communicate emotion. Kuri can capture film footage and take photographs, and has speech recognition technology (camera, loudspeaker, microphone, sensors). If it is alone in the house, it can alert the absent residents to a window left open by mistake, and in the evenings it can read a bedtime story to children. Kuri can be linked to a smartphone via an app.
  • Tasks
Entertaining people, housekeeping, providing company, complementing the family (but it does not replace people).
  • Research aim
Finding answers to the question of what robots need to have in order for people to accept them – and like them – in their most intimate personal spaces.

About Bosch

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 400,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2019). The company generated sales of 77.7 billion euros in 2019. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs some 72,600 associates in research and development at 126 locations across the globe, as well as roughly 30,000 software engineers.

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861–1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant upfront investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com, www.iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse.

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