Are you a science fiction fan? If so, you certainly have pictures in your head of what the future of robotics will look like: intelligent machines that look like humans and work everywhere in everyday life. But how real is this idea?
The aim of the annual “European Robotics Week” is to put an end to these prejudices and realistically present what robotics can and can’t do. The aim of the theme week, which the European association euRobotics has launched, is to inform the public about robotics, to take away fears and combat prejudices – and to get children and young people interested in robotics and technology. This year’s European Robotics Week broke all records with more than 1,300 events in over 41 countries. And that even beyond the borders of Europe, for example in Latin America and Asia.
But where does robotics stand at the moment?
The most automated country in Europe is Germany. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the development of new technologies focuses on several core areas. For example, the real world is to be increasingly networked with the digital world – keyword: industry 4.0. Networking should also enable robots to learn independently.
Another important field is the user-friendliness of robots. In the long term, automation must also be profitable for small and medium-sized companies. To achieve this, they must be able to use robots even without extensive programming knowledge and specially trained professionals.
Human-robot collaboration continues to be a key issue. Customers demand individual, flexible solutions. This is only possible if humans can work close to and even with robots. And not only in production – in medicine, too, the precision of a robot can support doctors and thus save human lives. And even in retail, robots could relieve employees of unergonomic work in the future.
Many other examples of current research projects can also be found on the KUKA website.
But back to the image of humanoid robots. What still sounds like dreams of the future in Germany is already a reality in countries like Japan. The country describes itself as a robot superpower. And for good reason: birth rates are shrinking, while society is aging – and faster than in any other industrialized nation. A solution has to be found and that is called robotics.
Nursing robots or humanoid robots are already a reality there. This is also due to the great acceptance of the Japanese people. Nobody here is afraid of losing jobs. In Japan there is full employment. But what is the reason for this? Robots are only used where it makes sense and where they can support people. And independent robots, which want to displace humans, don’t help anyone.