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Collaborative Robots in Manufacturing

New approaches to human-robot collaboration hold the promise of increasing flexibility in the manufacturing process. They combine the flexibility and problem-solving capabilities of human workers with robots’ strength and precision. Yet, to realize this vision, humans and robots should be able to truly work alongside one another – instead of stowing robots away behind steel cages.

This implies:

  • Safety: robots’ movements should be controlled in a safe manner
  • Communication: robots and humans should be able to communicate while working
  • Social acceptance: human operators should accept robots in their workspace


The imec.icon ClaXon project has, through a multidisciplinary approach, resulted among other things in a fully operational cobot at the Audi Brussels production plant. This demo illustrates different aspects of this approach:

  • Algorithms that allow collaborative robots to work faster and more accurately, while understanding operators’ intentions and gestures 
  • New, easy-to-use approaches to specify how a cobot should execute new variations of a task
  • Human-machine interaction and communication expertise to support the introduction of cobots on the actual work floor -  in a way that is (socially) accepted by human operators 


Copyright imec 2017