Perspective: Robots with grit will redefine manufacturing

By Jim Lawton, for Forbes

Oct 18, 2016

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There’s a lot of talk today about “grit” – a simple word that conveys tenacity and perseverance. We recognize it as a characteristic that enables humans to succeed. As robots take their place in the workforce, grit will be essential for their success as well.

Yes. Robots will need grit and here’s why. Consider what it takes to give walking directions in large city: you’re not likely to know every obstacle they might encounter – closed sidewalks, deliveries blocking the path, etc. Your instructions won’t include “jog left at this doorway to go around the pallets of produce” or “step to the right to avoid an open manhole.”

Everything they need is gleaned from the input of the robot’s sensors; the robot uses that information and cognitive computing to adjust its actions according to the changes in its immediate environment. Robots driven by behavior show more biological-appearing actions than their rules-based counterparts. It will recognize a flaw in the process – a misaligned part for example – and adapt to ensure that the workflow continues. That’s a robot with grit.

This new generation of robots – self-configuring, self-optimizing and self-healing – will be able to identify anomalies and adjust manufacturing processes in real-time.

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