The Volkswagen Group is researching ways in which robots can be used in the future when cars become more electrified and computerised as a result of increasing demand for clean and autonomous vehicles.
The German automaker, which owns the Audi, Bentley, Seat, Porsche and Lamborghini brands among others, is working one of the world’s largest industrial robotics and automation providers, Kuka, to research and develop a number of ideas.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently set up a $1 billion fund for the tech giant to invest in advanced manufacturing in the US, and the company has allocated $200 million of that money to a company called Corning.
Corning – which has been supplying the cover glass for iOS devices for the past 10 years – will receive the $200 million from Apple’s new Advanced Manufacturing Fund as part of what Apple calls its “commitment to foster innovation among American manufacturers”.
Yusen Logistics, a provider of contract logistics and air and ocean freight forwarding, has selected Swisslog warehouse and distribution Solutions to deliver the “innovative AutoStore Automated System” in Singapore.
The autonomous robots, which sit on the top of an aluminium grid as part of the innovative storage system, is expected to go into operation in 2017.
Renishaw is contributing its additive manufacturing expertise to a new £17.7 million project, being led by Airbus in the UK, to develop an innovative way of designing and manufacturing aircraft wings, which will encourage a “right first time approach” and reduce development time.
More than 30,000 new aircraft are expected to be required in the next 15-20 years, replacing existing in-service models and also to expand airlines’ fleets as the number of air travellers increases.
Sewing may be one of the oldest technical activities of humankind but it’s not one that robots have yet fully mastered.
The complexity of sewing, whether it’s sewing by hand or using a machine, is such that robots – or sophisticated sewing machines – can only perform some relatively simple stitches.
But those stitches that the robots or sewing machines can perform are actually very impressive and would be difficult – though not impossible for a human.
On the other hand, a lot of things a human can do – such as stitch together a sleeve and cuff or some other part of the garment, or even sew together the entire garment – is way beyond the realms of possibility for even the most sophisticated robots of today.
Kuka says it will be presenting “three innovative corporate research projects” at one of the world’s largest robotics conferences.
The International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Stockholm offers researchers from across the globe a platform to present innovative solutions. Kuka is a sponsor of ICRA.
Dr Rainer Bischoff, head of Kuka corporate research, says: “At ICRA, we will not only be showcasing our latest technological developments, but we will also be taking a broader view to discuss new scientific approaches for developing innovative ideas in the future as well.”
More than 1,600 companies have booked stands and are preparing to market their products at the Innovex and Smartex events in Taiwan. Robotics and the internet of things will be among the key attractions.
The exhibitions are organised by Computex Taipei, a government-linked organisation started in 1981 to promote trade with the outside world.
China has been buying large numbers of industrial robots in recent years, and ABB is one of the companies which is looking to establish itself in the region.