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14 January, 2018 - 00:27 By Kate Sweeney

Ocado unveils human-robot collaborative prototype – cobot

Hertfordshire company Ocado Technology has unveiled the fruits of its pan-European SecondHands project – presenting the first prototype of its collaborative robot (cobot) – which will act as the main platform for testing and developing new technologies related to the maintenance and repair of automation equipment in the company’s automated warehouses. 

SecondHands is an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project to design a cobot that can proactively offer support to maintenance technicians working in Ocado’s hi-tech processing centres.

This robot will be a second pair of hands that will assist technicians when they are in need of help. The robot will learn through observation and augment the humans' capabilities by completing tasks that require a level of precision or physical strength not available to human workers.

The SecondHands project combines the skills of world-class researchers focusing on a real-world industrial use case to deliver:-

  • The design of a new robotic assistant
  • A knowledge base to facilitate proactive help
  • A high degree of human-robot interaction
  • Advanced perception skills to function in a highly dynamic industrial environment

Together with its research partners École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Sapienza Università di Roma and University College London, Ocado Technology is working to advance the technology readiness of areas such as computer vision and cognition, human-robot interaction, mechatronics and perception – and ultimately demonstrate how versatile and productive human-robot collaboration can be in practice.

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