Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

Mercedes is testing humanoid robots in production

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Mercedes-Benz has become the latest car company to test how human-like robots could be used in “low-skilled, physically demanding, manual jobs” in the automotive industry. Robotics company Apptronik announced on Friday that it has entered into a commercial agreement with Mercedes to pilot the use of “advanced robotics” such as Apollo, Apptronik’s 72.5 kilogram bipedal robot. This news comes after BMW announced a similar pilot program in January.

According to Apptronik, Mercedes; It explores use cases for Apollo, such as having human production line workers check parts and deliver parts. The companies did not disclose any figures on the number of Apollo robots included in the agreement or tested.

Apptronik notes that humanoid robots could enable vehicle manufacturers to start automating production tasks without having to redesign their existing facilities. The company states that its approach focuses on “automating physically demanding, repetitive and tedious tasks.” It is stated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find reliable employees for this type of work.

According to the Financial Times, Mercedes has begun trials with an unspecified number of Apollo robots at a factory in Hungary. The country has been experiencing a labor shortage for several years as workers migrate to Western Europe, with Audi and Mercedes both expressing concerns about labor supply in 2016.

“This is a new frontier and we want to understand the potential for both robotics and automotive manufacturing,” said Jörg Burzer, Mercedes’ production chief. said. The goals include filling workforce gaps in low-skill, repetitive and physically demanding jobs and freeing our highly skilled team members down the line to build the world’s most desirable cars.

Apollo is 1.73 meters tall and Apptronik claims the robot can lift objects weighing up to 25 kilograms. While the robot’s “face” looks endearingly goofy, its form factor isn’t much different from other human-like robots, like Tesla’s Optimus robot or the Figure 01 robots BMW is testing at its South Carolina manufacturing facility. Other bipedal robots, such as Agility Robotics’ “Digit,” are also being pilot tested in Amazon’s U.S. warehouses.

Significant progress can be made in production with Apollo

This collaboration between Mercedes and Apptronik demonstrates the potential of human-like robots in automotive production processes. Apollo’s experience can not only increase efficiency on the production line, but also relieve human workers from demanding physical tasks, allowing them to focus on more strategic and skilled tasks. This innovative approach has the potential to improve production quality and efficiency while providing a sustainable solution to labor shortages in the automotive industry.

The Apollo robot trials launched by Mercedes at its factory in Hungary show how technology can not only fill the workforce gap but also shape the future of automotive production. This represents a significant step in the industry’s digital transformation journey and highlights how leading companies such as Mercedes are pioneering these new technologies.

Danish Kapoor