A vision becomes reality

Schunk has once again hosted its Schunk Expert Days in Lauffen, Germany, where Dr Roko Tschakarow, business director Mobile Gripping Systems at SCHUNK, speaks about the future and the challenges of service robotics.

The focus point of the 2013 event was ‘Vision Becomes Reality’, discussing how far service robotics has evolved in recent years and the challenges it faces moving forward. Almost all the large industrial sectors have service robotics on their agenda and interest from associated companies considering service robotics has increased significantly.

Highlighting the issues facing the service robotics arena, Dr Tschakarow believes there are three central issues that will determine the evolution over the coming years. Firstly, the safety aspect for humans and material, secondly, the legal framework and thirdly, the development of efficient system manufacturers and integrators for service robotics solutions as an interface between manufacturer and user.

With regard to the progression of technology, the use of efficient and cost effective sensors will make it possible in the future to control the performance and force of service robots according to the situation in real time. A second important issue is usability. The operation of service robots has to become easier and more intuitive than has been the case to date.

Concerning the legal frameworks, Dr Tschakarow commented, “There is the question of liability in case of applications with unmanned systems for example. Data protection also plays an important role. Additionally, service robots have to record, process and store a wide range of data in order to navigate safely.”

The system manufacturers and integrators will be the primary drivers of this technology and Dr Tschakarow believes that similar to the conventional industrial robotics, someone has to combine modules and solutions, but also software and periphery with each other to ensure user requirements are optimally met. System manufacturers and integrators may also take over these interface functions into service robotics. There may be established providers or new companies that have expertise in applications of service robotics.

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