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Future of Robotics in the USA Automotive Industry

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Despite the development of the automobile industry in the United States through the use of robotics, the field has not been fully exploited. Robotics is getting an increasing role in the USA’s automotive industry. The automobile industry in the United States has displayed and shown that the future of the manufacturing industry would be an area where robots will control the operations and responsible for most functions. It will be a scenario where robots would be easily equated with human beings. This perception has been there for some time and now it’s almost taking off and becoming a reality. In essence, robots in future are anticipated to work on audio auto parts or even for instance, OEM Mitsubishi parts. On arriving at the auto service shop, robots are believed to be in charge of ascertaining the working conditions of the vehicle.

The future is now with us because robots could not actually be those big things having their own minds to work on their own decisions. The machines in the automotive industry are merely like robots and there is more yet to come in increasing the robotic functions and applications.  The automotive industry is making progress in making robots handle the production of automotive pieces and parts. The Automated Imaging Association (AIA) along with the Robotics Industries Association (RIA) has been in the fore front of promoting the development of robotics in the automotive industry.

There is been a big vision for automotive manufacturing robots and there is a lot of unbounded hope in their future diversification. Robotics is believed to address significant competitive matters for any organization achieving the realization of success in the challenging automotive market. Robotics will offer a technology solution in the automotive industry and make production a swift process thus increasing profit margins (Dylan, 2007). The advent of a BMW sports function starts with a number of metals along with the whirr, twist and thrust of a robot. While BMW (IW 1000/37) has 7,000 individuals at Spartanburg, S.C factory complex, the individuals are not easily found on the body shop line X5/X6. This shows how robots have increased their role functions eliminating the use of human effort in making stud wildings and spot wildings systems along with many activities.

The manufacturing developments would further include advanced automatic hang-on fit line (Gray, n.d). The robots would be largely used in attaching hoods, fenders, doors and hatches to motor vehicles. The fitting system would be useful to automate the manufacturing process enhancing the quality standards that human beings have been doing currently. With such kind of developments, automation will be taking a central role in almost every automotive function and operation (Gray, n.d). While robots have been effective in doing a lot of body shop activities, the assembly lines still lag in the development of a robotic arm to help in the process.  It is therefore anticipated that robotics would be used in future assembly lines; an area that has been largely dominated by human beings. The assembly line has been the main center of interest for automotive industry and will soon become a reality in a big measure.

Robots are still needed to be installed via the trainload. The only important thing for them is to go for the body shop. This is a structured surrounding. Robots may however, face challenges of obstructing one another. It is also anticipated that the robots will be best suited for a more fluid surrounding of the line, in which assembling is usually carried out. This is a scene where options and trims change quite often. Therefore, dual arm control in the robotics installation is considered a viable option. Well, the agility comparable to that of human beings has made robotics an ill-suited factor for the assembly line of automotives. Future developments would require inroads heading to the assembly line, highly enhanced robotic senses of force, vision and touch.

Currently, robots have found a major application in the body shop and most of them are highly blind. Robots in the current automotive industry have only brute memory and force. Future developments are looking for ways through which robots on the side, that is unstructured, should be made cognizant of the happenings around. In the near future, there is a need of making robots highly intelligent. FANUC Robotics America Corporation has been in the fore front in trying to make robots that are more intelligent other than merely using force and agility (Cable, 2012). Despite the fact that some robots can touch and see, a lot of training is required to make them know the things they are in search for and what they will feel. The anticipation is made for these robots to be more intelligent than they are in their current form, to be able to train themselves on the manner in which to feel or see a thing and recall these experiences for them to be able to repeat the same unaided.

There are still few processes in the automotive manufacturing industry that need a human touch. These include metal finish and brazing. These are areas that still need the intervention of robotics. Automotive companies have been reluctant to use robotics in brazing. This is because it happens to be among the finest things. A lot of money needed for acquiring a robot having a vision system has been the impediment. Again, manufacturers have felt that a trained eye working out the process is more efficacious. While the automation of the brazing processes is seen as an unlikely event, it cannot be dismissed off easily especially when the subject of robotics comes in. There is still room for research, needed to address the challenges of robotics in the brazing process. There is a hope that any manufacturing process in the automotive industry can finally be handled through robotics. It is anticipated that technology will catch up with the remaining automotive manufacturing functions and thus addressing many of the manual production means. Two factors come into play in the implementation process: the technology itself and the cost incurred.

High costs of robotic installations have frustrated full application of robotics technology in the automotive industry.  However, the technology democratization has made the robotics field attain cost cuts breakthrough through piggybacking off an uncertain source that is the consumer electronics.  This is also expected to happen in the automotive industry. For instance, a 3-D vision initially looked like a hard thing to come by owing to the escalated sensor technology prices. All the same, Xbox 360 3D sensor by Microsoft was established that dealt with the problem of cost (Cable, 2012). Therefore, if robots are to reach to factory sections, they have not been initially, and to reach out to midsize and small manufacturers, their use is highly anticipated to become easy.  The element of programming should thus be phased out if this endeavor is to be achieved for application in the automotive industry.

The biggest hope for robotics use in the automotive industry is to have robots that can be taught through demonstration.  The current picking up of teaching pendants and making a robot program is somewhat tedious and complex. The functionality and use of robotics in the automotive industry is anticipated to be increased to avoid dealing with a robot language because it has been inaccessible to a bigger part of the industry. The Microsoft developed sensor along with a motion sensor has provided some clues. As a result, they have together been able to track the entire body of the user and make a digital skeleton. Moving left or right or any other kind of movement can be captured by the sensor. The hope is that this could be translated in the factory floor. This would ease and fasten activities of the motor vehicle industry. With the advent of many electronic gadgets like tablets, cell phones and laptops, the automotive industry is likely to source out this technology and customize it to fit for its application.

The hope of diversifying the use of robotics in the automotive industry is now revived and making huge progress. With the continued industrial robotics evolution, the future will have robots and people working in a more closely related way. That could be realized very fast as it is the belief of many people. The development of safety-rated software, limiting the position and speed of robots, making it possible for factories to enhance robotics cells that are as huge as the motion of the robotics, is taking shape. There is a hope that robots in future will take a part of a motor vehicle and pick it up for human beings and moves along or share the provided workspace in a way. Again, for the robots to permeate the motor vehicle assembly line, they will have to surpass with other big challenge that has baffled the robotics world for some years now with the development of a 7-axis machine. The human arm has 7 axis hence a 6-axis robot cannot deliver  in the same way like human beings do (Cable, 2012). This is thought to be addressed in the future. In future, robotics may have this additional degree of freedom hence leading to a freely configurable robotic arm and be in a position to evade obstacles just like human beings.

Development in intelligence and sensing technology is highly anticipated in the robotics use in the automotive industry. Robots are believed to be production partners in the future. When dealing with robots, reality appears to lag behind the fiction of science. However, the fact that robots have not been able to meet their promises in the past is not an indication that it will never be realized. This moment is soon approaching with the use of different advanced technologies. The main issues to deal with are the issues of making robotics cheaper, cost-effective, smaller and improving their practicability. The technology of robotics is coming to a converging point with various modern technologies like: force sensing, advanced mechanics, machine vision and speech recognition. This is hoped to lead to new degrees of automotive job functionality that in the past have not been considered practical in the robotics world. 

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