Just two years ago, it would have been next to impossible to find a wearable exoskeleton on an automotive production line. In just a couple of years, the number of exoskeletons in auto plants has gone from a few dozen to somewhere close to a thousand, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down.
The exact number of active and evaluation wearable device installs is not trivial to calculate, but some values are known. At the Wearable Robotics Association Conference (WearRAcon19) held in March 2019, it was revealed that between BMW, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen there are 585 devices in use. In addition to the six companies listed above, there are at least a dozen auto manufacturers that are using or testing exoskeletons at this time.
One aspect that is facilitating the rapid spread of exoskeletons in the automotive industry is that ergonomist and manufacturing engineers at each site are allowed to communicate with each other. As a result, there is at least one automotive exoskeleton group currently active. In these groups, professionals from rival car producers are openly discussing their experience with exos. This combined knowledge is used to the benefit of manufacturing employees around the globe.