Industrial Safety / Industrial Robotics

Airbags are being used to make industrial robots safer for human use

By The Independent (London)

Sep 21, 2017

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Two years ago, a robot crushed a 22-year-old man to death at a Volkswagen factory in Germany after the maintenance worker became trapped in an area usually off-bound to humans. While this type of tragedy is still relatively rare, efforts to improve safety are intensifying as factories around the world become increasingly automated.

Now, in a development that’s drawn interest from car makers including Volkswagen, entrepreneurs Roman Weitschat and Hannes Hoeppner, working at the German Aerospace Centre outside of Munich, say they have designed a way to better safeguard interactions between humans and robots with the aim of allowing them to work more closely.

Their newly-created company, Cobotect, is using the decades-old concept of airbags to cushion potentially dangerous automated parts and prevent workers from getting hurt.

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