CNR-STIIMA is at the forefront of the race to develop methods and applications for collaborative robotics. Numerous European projects involve the institute on topics such as planning and motion control, intuitive programming and safety.

Collaborative robotics is one of the key building blocks of the factory of the future. The collaboration of people and robots makes it possible to combine the versatility and reasoning skills of humans with the repeatability of robots. The use of robots also makes it possible to relieve people of heavy or dangerous tasks, improving working conditions and workers’ health. To bring this future ever closer, the CNR-STIIMA institute is involved in several projects centred on the development, implementation and validation of solutions to make the interaction between humans and robots more natural and improve their efficiency and safety.

In recent projects, the institute has been involved in developing motion planning algorithms to reduce robot downtimes in pick-and-packaging applications, in making robot programming and handling more natural, and in optimising the distribution of loads between humans and robots when co-moving large objects.

Towards a more natural interaction between robots and people

One of the factors limiting collaborative robotics in industrial applications is the poor ability of robots to adapt to the behaviour of the operators around them. Developing methods for decision-making, planning and controlling the robot that improve its autonomy and efficiency is crucial as regards making collaboration with people more natural and accepted.

Simple and intuitive programming

Collaborative robots should be flexible and easy to use, even in the hands of operators with little experience in automation. Programming methods must therefore be intuitive and allow the operator to re-configure the robot cell in a short time to ensure maximum flexibility.

 

Safety and ergonomics

The aim of collaborative robotics is to improve operators’ working conditions. Safety when using robots near or in contact with people is therefore vital to avoid harming workers. This is accompanied by the continuous study of solutions that improve ergonomics and psychological health in the workplace when people and robots interact for long periods of time.

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The collaboration of people and robots makes it possible to combine the versatility and reasoning skills of humans with the repeatability of robots.