Costa Group to test Pepper humanoid robots on cruise liners

Pepper robot is being given employment on Costa Cruise liners
Pepper robot is being given employment on Costa Cruise liners

Cruise liner company Costa Group has signed an exclusive agreement with the French company Aldebaran for a pilot project with Pepper robots.

Aldebaran, which is a subsidiary of the SoftBank Group through SoftBank Robotics Corp, said the contract was worth more than a million euros.

Pepper is the world’s first robot that reads main human emotions, says the company, adding that it is ideally suited to help and delight guests on board of cruise ships. Aldebaran adds that Pepper will improve guest experience and provide help and entertainment on board the ships of the Costa Group’s cruise brands: AIDA and Costa.  Continue reading Costa Group to test Pepper humanoid robots on cruise liners

US Navy orders five ship inspection robots from Bluefin

Bluefin Robotics’ EOD HULS MK19 System
Bluefin Robotics’ ship inspection system

The US Navy has awarded five delivery orders to Bluefin Robotics for vehicles that will increase the Navy’s capability to remotely inspect ship hulls.

The robots can also search and investigate harbor sea floors, and other underwater infrastructure for limpet mines, Improvised Explosive Devices and other objects of interest.

The delivery orders, valued at $5 million, are to be used in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (EOD HULS) Program of Record.  Continue reading US Navy orders five ship inspection robots from Bluefin

Jaguar Land Rover to road test future technology on UK’s first ‘connected corridor’

Jaguar Land Rover is investing in a 40-mile ‘living laboratory’ to test autonomous and connected vehicle technology
Jaguar Land Rover is investing in a 40-mile ‘living laboratory’ to test autonomous and connected vehicle technology
  • A new 41 mile ‘living laboratory’ of UK roads will be used to test and develop next-generation connected and autonomous vehicle technologies
  • A fleet of 100 ‘smart’ connected and autonomous technology research vehicles, including Jaguar and Land Rover models, will test new systems that enable cars to talk with each other
  • Car-to-car communication and ‘Over the Horizon’ warnings will make driving safer, improve journey times and prevent traffic jams
  • Car-to-car communication will allow cars to warn others vehicles. Ambulances, Fire and Police vehicles can alert drivers that they are approaching

Jaguar and Land Rover is investing in a 41 mile ‘living laboratory’ project on UK roads to develop new Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technologies. The new CAV test corridor, which includes 41 miles of roads around Coventry and Solihull, will be used to evaluate new systems in real-world driving conditions.

The £5.5m ‘UK-CITE’ (UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) project will create the first test route capable of testing both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems on public roads in the UK. New roadside communications equipment will be installed along the route during the three year project to enable the testing of a fleet of up to 100 connected and highly automated cars, including five Jaguar Land Rover research vehicles. Continue reading Jaguar Land Rover to road test future technology on UK’s first ‘connected corridor’

Jaguar Land Rover invests in ‘ground-breaking research’ into future autonomous cars

Jaguar Land Rover

  • Ground-breaking research will help programme future autonomous cars to have driver-like reactions
  • Drivers more likely to trust autonomous cars if they don’t drive like robots
  • The project will help develop future insurance policies for automated vehicles

Jaguar Land Rover is investing in a multi-million-pound research project that will help future autonomous vehicles drive naturally like human drivers, rather than like robots.

A fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be driven daily by employees of the London Borough of Greenwich, to establish how a range of different drivers react to real-world driving situations, including heavy traffic, busy junctions, road works and bad weather.

Data from sensors in these cars will reveal the natural driving behaviours and decision-making that drivers make whilst driving, including complex and stressful scenarios. These include giving way at roundabouts and intersections, how drivers ease forward at junctions to enter a flow of traffic, or how they react to an emergency vehicle coming up behind their car whilst in a traffic jam. Continue reading Jaguar Land Rover invests in ‘ground-breaking research’ into future autonomous cars

Consortium of automotive companies wins £5.5m fund to trial driverless cars on UK roads

intelligent transport systems uk

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is part of a consortium of companies called MOVE_UK that says it will “help position the UK as a world leader in automated and self-driving cars”.

Led by Bosch, the MOVE_UK project benefits from a £5.5 million grant awarded by InnovateUK – the government initiative which has allocated £100 million to help jump-start the driverless car industry – and will see driverless technology trialled in real world conditions on roads in Greenwich, London.

Alongside TRL, UK project partners include Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, Direct Line Group, The Floow and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Together, the partners will see MOVE_UK accelerate the entry of automated, driverless car technologies to the UK market. The project will increase the rate of development and testing of these technologies at a lower cost to vehicle manufacturers.
Continue reading Consortium of automotive companies wins £5.5m fund to trial driverless cars on UK roads

UK hits the road with autonomous vehicles

The British government has made its first moves to support the development of the next generation of autonomous vehicles, awarding eight new projects a total of £20 million from its £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund.

Driverless car in Milton Keynes, UK
Driverless car being tested during trials in Milton Keynes, UK

The government said the awards are intended to help fund research and development of “enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems”, including what it calls new “talking car technologies”.

Brings to mind Kitt, the car nominally driven by David Hasselhoff in the 1980s classic television series, Knight Rider. Kitt – short for Knight Industries Two Thousand – was, of course, a fully autonomous car which could also talk.  Continue reading UK hits the road with autonomous vehicles

Robots take fruit-picking route to global domination

Chris Roberts, head of industrial robotics at Cambridge Consultants, gives Robotics and Automation News an exclusive interview 

For those of us fortunate enough to spend our time shopping, and perhaps think of ourselves as discerning shoppers, one of the more pleasant experiences when buying fruit is evaluating them on a number of factors, such as colour, texture, firmness and aroma.

chris roberts, cambridge consultants
Chris Roberts

This final selection process tends to happen at the store, after the fruit supplier has already played its part in initially choosing the most suitable produce for the shops it supplies.

A large amount of automation technology is already used in the fruit-picking industry, from robots picking fruit off trees and plants to huge automated fruit sorting machines, but things could be about to take a quantum leap with the advent of fruit-picking robots that can use the same criteria as the most discerning of shoppers. Continue reading Robots take fruit-picking route to global domination

Rethink Robotics signs ‘major distribution partnerships’ in Germany

Rethink Robotics’ Baxter and Sawyer collaborative robots
Rethink Robotics’ Baxter and Sawyer collaborative robots

Rethink Robotics today announced exclusive distribution partnerships with leading automation providers in Germany to continue the global expansion of the company.

Freise Automation and Hahn Robotics will deliver Sawyer to the German manufacturing community, helping companies improve production processes and implement flexible and affordable automation.

Rethink Robotics is redefining manufacturing across the globe with its family of smart, collaborative robots that can adapt to real-world variability, change applications quickly and perform tasks like people do.  Continue reading Rethink Robotics signs ‘major distribution partnerships’ in Germany

Touch Bionics sales reach £15 million in 2015

touch bionics growth
Touch Bionics has 11 per cent more revenues than it did last year

European expansion and new product introductions have delivered continued growth in 2015

Touch Bionics, a provider of world-leading upper limb prosthetic technologies, said its preliminary results indicate the company achieved total revenue of £15 million in 2015, an increase of 11 per cent over 2014.

Touch Bionics’ growth was driven by strong results from its European markets, most notably in Germany, and also in France, where the i-limb is now officially approved and funded by the French governmental health authorities.  Continue reading Touch Bionics sales reach £15 million in 2015

Schunk grippers help visions become reality

Schunk
Schunk LDx linear direct axes are already widely used today in high-performance assembly.

Admittedly, the iron hand of the legendary knight Götz von Berlichingen and Schunk’s 5-finger hand have very little in common. Yet it cannot be denied that the first personal handshake with the agile high-tech gripper creates an unnerving feeling.

The soft handshake soon dispels all skepticism, however, giving way to enthusiasm for the possibilities of modern mechatronics.

Since the Hannover Messe 2015, where the mechatronic masterpiece caused a sensation in the media, the innovative SCHUNK gripper has become the shooting star in the area of flexible handling. Continue reading Schunk grippers help visions become reality

Kuka lightweight robot combines injection molding with additive manufacturing

kuka, arburg, collaborative robots, additive manufacturing
Use of the LBR iiwa enables maximum flexibility at Arburg

In the age of Industry 4.0, “smart factories” are developing at an unprecedented rate. Nowadays, automated, networked and variable production lines are in high demand as companies aim to respond quickly and flexibly to ever shorter product life cycles.

At the same time, the issue of how to incorporate individual customer requirements into industrial series production is growing in significance.

The German machinery manufacturer Arburg has developed a fully automated production line, completely networked in terms of IT processes, which allows series-manufactured injection moldings to be individualized right at the production line, according to the customer’s requirements. Continue reading Kuka lightweight robot combines injection molding with additive manufacturing

iRobot sells its defense and security business to Arlington Capital Partners

irobot defence robots
iRobot has sold off its military robots division

iRobot has signed a definitive agreement to sell its defense and security business to Arlington Capital Partners for up to $45 million in total consideration, including a contingent payment based on achieving certain milestones.

This transaction enables iRobot to solidify its position as the leader in diversified Home Robots and focus on technologies for the connected home, said the company.

“In the spring of 2014, we engaged Blackstone Advisory Partners LP, now known as PJT Partners, to review strategic alternatives for our Defense and Security business,” said Colin Angle, iRobot chairman and chief executive officer. Continue reading iRobot sells its defense and security business to Arlington Capital Partners

Bosch takes its connected vehicle technology to India

bosch highly automated driving
Bosch classifies cars as automated, highly automated, and fully automated

Bosch is pushing to become a leading global supplier of connected vehicle technologies, and is now targeting India as a key market

Imagine a single technology that can reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption, foresee when maintenance is needed, and display everything on the car owner’s smartphone.

Bosch has developed a comprehensive connectivity platform solution which can do all that – a solution, moreover, that is tailored to the Indian market. Continue reading Bosch takes its connected vehicle technology to India

Robotiq launches new FT 300 force torque sensor

Robotiq has launched its newest Force Torque Sensor: the FT 300, which the company says brings “a sense of touch to your robot”.

The Force Torque Sensor FT 300 has plug and play integration on all Universal Robots, making automation of high-precision tasks such as product testing, assembly and precise part insertion easy and fast to set up.

The Force Torque Sensor FT 300 is specially designed for Universal Robots. The easy integration includes a smooth mechanical fit, integration and programming. This new Sensor will open up a whole range of force sensitive applications that will be fast and easy to automate, says the company. Continue reading Robotiq launches new FT 300 force torque sensor

Two-armed robots: Baxter helps Stenner meet increased demand

rethink robotics, baxter, material handling
Rethink’s Baxter robot is capable of many type of material handling tasks, says the company
Stenner Pump Company, a maker of water treatment pumps, tanks, injection systems and more, is leveraging Rethink Robotics’ two-armed Baxter robot in its manufacturing plant in Jacksonville, Fla. to increase flexibility and efficiency, allowing for quicker product development and delivery.

The team at Stenner Pump is deploying Baxter in a production cell to complete two tasks using each arm simultaneously. Baxter uses one arm to package and place finished parts from an injection molding machine into a bagging machine for final production.

Using the other arm, Baxter begins a three-step machine tending and assembly task by placing a strainer into a fixture and ensuring proper part orientation. Baxter then places a weight into the strainer and waits for the lid to be pressed on to the strainer; finally, the robot removes the finished part and places it into a bin of finished products. Continue reading Two-armed robots: Baxter helps Stenner meet increased demand