THE future has been put on hold, that’s the message we can take from the recent revelation that Mercedes-Benz has switched some of its assembly line robots for actual humans in an unusual reversal of modern trends.
It transpires that the robots presently at the manufacturing giant’s disposal had significant trouble with the complexity of certain tasks and the adaptability required to complete them.
Head of production Markus Schaefer said: “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualisation and the variants that we have today. We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.
We’re moving away from trying to maximise automation with people taking a bigger part in industrial processes again. We need to be flexible. The variety is too much to take on for the machines. They can’t work with all the different options and keep pace with changes.”
Customisation demands from consumers are at the heart of the switch, as the luxury market in particular lurches towards ever more intricate designs.
Companies are also diversifying their models, offering a greater variety while striving to keep up to date with all the latest technological appliances.
The car industry has pioneered the use of robots in manufacturing. The move appears to indicate, however, a shift towards a human-robot partnership that capitalises on combination of machine strength and efficiency, with human wit and adaptability.
Future robots are expected to be equipped with a certain level of artificial intelligence, which will allow them to work with humans on a more intuitive level as traditional manufacturers enlist the help of faster goal driven companies like Google and Tesla.
Smart technology will soon become a key factor in the generation of new cars as the industry lags behind other modern behemoths including the smart phone. With self-driving cars being developed, energy efficiency gaining prominence, and customers demanding more tailored innovation, it is clear that that human touch is still a key ingredient. For the time being.