Cobot developed to maintain Ocado warehouses

Ocado Technology has unveiled the first prototype of its ARMAR-6 humanoid collaborative robot (cobot) that will eventually assist maintenance workers in its three highly automated UK warehouses.

The ARMAR-6 has been developed by SecondHands, an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project. The robot will learn through observation and will augment the human workers’ capabilities by completing tasks that require a higher level of precision or physical strength.

Cobots represent a fast-growing segment of the industrial robot market. According to the World Robotics Report released earlier this year by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), industrial robot installations are forecast to grow by 15% in 2018. This increased adoption of robots for a wide range of applications comes off the back of stronger-than-expected growth in the global economy, faster business cycles, greater variety in customer demand, and the scaling up of Industry 4.0 concepts.

As robots evolve from industrial machines performing repetitive tasks in isolated areas of large-scale factories to highly complex systems powered by deep neural networks, SecondHands’ goal is to solve one of the greatest challenges facing the robotics field: developing collaborative robots that can safely and intelligently interact with their human counterparts in a real-world factory environment.