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HR-Recycler participation in “Industrial Human Robot Collaboration” projects cluster

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HR-Recycler participated in a Workshop on the Cluster of “Industrial Human Robot Collaboration” projects that took place in Brussels, on 1st July 2019.

The workshop was organized by the European Commission (Bram Vanderborght, Andrea Ceglia, Laszlo Hetey and Jurgen Tiedje) and its aim was to prepare a publicly available policy report illustrating the potential benefits of funding research and innovation on robotics, identify emerging technology trends, environmental, economic and societal impacts. This report will be presented at European Research and Innovation Days in Brussels, from 24 to 26 September 2019 (https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/events/upcoming-events/european-research-and-innovation-days_en).

The following projects of the Cluster of “Industrial Human Robot Collaboration” participated:

The workshop started with a short presentation of each project of the Cluster, presented by each project’s representative. Each presentation included the motivation, main goal and objectives of the project, the consortium and a brief description of the proposed technical solution and the related Use Cases.

The next part of the workshop included the Technological Analysis. More specifically, the current Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) achieved by the current research projects in this area were analysed and the challenges for high TRL levels were discussed. Regarding integration/implementation issues the following aspects were discussed: Standards (if sufficiently developed and translated in good practices), Certification (how it is done, if it can be done for a wide range of applications, etc.), Interoperability (how it is implemented), Benchmarking and Reproducibility of scientific research.

Another interesting point of discussion was the industrial and economic impact, where several issues were analysed. New business models arise when moving from traditional industrial robots to collaborative robots, while the economic viability of investing in robots that collaborate with human workers has been extensively studied. Other issues include the targeted increase of productivity (e.g. time, quality, resources, working conditions), barriers to valorization, the potential challenges for startups, targeting liability and intellectual property. Finally, the role of Digital Innovation Hubs was discussed.

Last but not least, the Social Impact by moving from traditional industrial robots to collaborative robots was discussed. It is of high importance to ensure that the use of Human-Robot Collaboration in industry is able to improve working conditions and increase the amount of jobs. Ethical aspects were also discussed (ethics screening, job loss, handling of privacy, position of women).

The importance of EU collaborative projects was stressed, as well as potential improvements on how subsequent public or private investments can put in place the technologies that result from these projects.

The importance of EU collaborative projects was stressed, as well as potential improvements on how subsequent public or private investments can put in place the technologies that result from these projects.

What is also important is to place the initiative more at end-user companies that have specific needs, instead of EU research centers.