Cognitive robotics: an essential technology for SMEsMarjorie
Among the different technology trends shaping the European manufacturing SMEs’ digital transformation, cognitive technologies will help companies take better decisions and work in safer environments. The capacity of cognitive robotics to adapt their responses depending on their own experiences and human teachings has started to find its way in the manufacturing sector despite several obstacles.
Although the cognitive autonomous system market seems to point to great investment promises, the implementation of the technology could still involve some difficulties, particularly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector. The European Projects are giving opportunities for SMEs to easily access cognitive robotics since the integration of this type of technology could represent an impact beyond expectation.
Europe is anticipated to be a major contributor to the cognitive robotics process automation market.
The global robotic technology market projection suggests significant growth in spite of the difficulties that SMEs are facing to integrate new technologies. These difficulties are mostly associated with a lack of knowledge sharing and a shortage of funding opportunities. According to Zion Market Research, the cognitive robotics process automation market will reach USD 1,705.7 million by 2024. In 2017, it was accounted for “only” USD 147.2 million. Nowadays, the finance and banking sector seems to be very fond of this technology, but the manufacturing industry is also in its adoption journey of robotic technologies. The major adoption rate has happened in less than 10 years as a result of its increasing utilization in the European manufacturing sector. Interestingly, the automotive sector contributed to almost 35% of the total robotics market.
Cognitive robotic: an update in the relationship between human and robots
The cognitive robotics is an emerging field of research which involves the study of the design and usability of robots with human-like intelligence in perception, motor control, and high-level cognition. According to the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society
“Cognitive robots achieve their goals by perceiving their environment, paying attention to the events that matter, planning what to do, anticipating the outcome of their actions and the actions of other agents, and learning from the resultant interaction”.
The organization outlines that there is a growing need for robots that are able to safely interact with people and dispose of predictive capabilities to anticipate the increasingly adverse effects on the environment.
Complementary to the definition, it is important to understand the difference between cognitive computing and Artificial intelligence: “Artificial intelligence tells a manufacturer which course of action to take based on its analysis. A cognitive computer provides information to help the manufacturer decide on a course of action” (The Manufacturing tomorrow).
Security, Agile production and internet of things
European project Robotics Coordination Action for Europe Two RockEU2 (2016-2018), whose activities have been focused on market observation, technology watch, innovation support, analysis of funded proposals, regulations assessment, and standardization support, has been able to identify eleven functional abilities needed for cognitive robots based on the results of a survey of industrial developers. Predominantly, collaborative robots should have a certain level of reliability and adaptability to adjust themselves to new environments through human-robot interactions (demonstrations). The interactions have to be safe, personalized, and evolutive.
Vojext, the European project helping SMEs to reach the technology Vojext, a 42-months-long project, started on July 1st 2020 and is one of I4MS’s innovation actions that encourages producers and SMEs to adopt cognitive autonomous systems for human-robot interaction and dynamizes science-driven industry approaches engaging human and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) in the same loop; thus, amplifying the cognitive capabilities needed to achieve more effective sociotechnical and business ecosystems. To this end, VOJEXT designs, develops, and demonstrates cost-effective, market-oriented, agile, multipurpose, and easy-to-repurpose autonomous, mobile and dexterous robotic systems as the main component of a smart, agile, and scalable cognitive cyber-physical system for the industry. VOJEXT will integrate new fifteen (15) demonstrators during the project, to be selected through open calls. During the upcoming years, SMEs that integrate cognitive robotics technology can make a big difference in terms of security for its employees but also with the implementation of agile methods. European projects are helping the SMEs to reach the level of awareness needed to integrate the technology.
Marjorie Grassler, In-house consultant at Mobile World Capital Barcelona #robotics #internet-of-things #manufacturing