Main Obstacles to Progress Long term Vision of Future Robot

The described long-term vision realization is subject to overcoming the following barriers:
Man-machine-interaction: Today, manufacturing tasks cannot be expressed in intuitive enduser terms as would be typically required for instructions by voice. Multimodal dialogues based on voice, graphics, and texts should be initiated to quickly resolve insufficient or ambiguous information.
Mechanical limitations: Robot mechanics account for some 80% of the system price. For some parts, particularly gears, there exists a painful dependency on Japanese suppliers. New drive lines should be developed where high density motors and compliant compact gears (e.g. on the basis of mechanical wave generators) with integrated torque and position sensors are used in order to decrease this dependency. Advanced control of sensor based drive systems will make it possible to decrease cost and weight without reducing the robot performance. Furthermore a cooperative space-sharing robot needs harmless motions. This can be achieved by intrinsically safe designs or suitable sensor equipment.
Sensors: Full 3D recognition is required for work piece and worker localization in less structured environments. Inexpensive sensors do not exist yet but high volume supervision and entertainment applications will make this technology affordable.
Robot automation life-cycle costs. The gains of robots productivity are probably less pronounced than quality gains, especially for investments into cooperating which in some cases will result in severe cost limits of such systems to achieve cost-effectiveness.
Socio-economic factors. The systems of advanced mechatronic may slow down investments in novel robot systems especially in areas with little or no automation a strong conservative attitude in industry towards. The introduction of robotics into industries characterized by low status and bad working conditions can contribute to changing their attractiveness to employ young people.
Standards. First standards towards cooperative robots and intelligent assist devices (e.g. “smart balancers”) are about to emerge. New standards for robot assistants allowing physical interaction at normal working speeds will be required. Setting new standards needs committed industries to support the high cost and time involved.

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