Is this the future for human/robot collaboration?

Jon Lawson

In another sign that robots can make workers lives easier, SEAT’s Martorell site in Barcelona is trialling a brace of new autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Developed by French company Effidence, the machines are primarily for shifting heavy loads like batches of components around the 2.8 million square metre site. They are capable of carrying up to 250 kilos and pulling as much as 500 kilos. Analysing constant 360º readings, the robot can follow the worker who tapped its touchscreen as he or she moves around the facility, navigating around people or objects in the way. It is this feature that makes them different to previous automated guided vehicles (AGVs) at the site, which had to follow pre-defined paths in the floor. 

Vice-President for Production and Logistics Herbert Steiner noted: “Autonomous mobile robots place us at the forefront of innovation in the sector. They’re also a clear example of how robots can collaborate with employees to make their work easier. Their incorporation contributes to driving Industry 4.0 and making us more efficient, flexible, agile and competitive.”

These are not the only robots on site, for example the plant currently has around 20 collaborative machines in the assembly areas, including the ‘cobots’ that are responsible for applying the lettering to the Ibiza and Arona models.

The company is also investigating how to leverage other new techology including the use of artificial intelligence and big data to streamline operations.