The landscape of Robotics technology is evolving, pushing industries forward for a 360-degree approach to robotics. More so than before, today, robotic technology is progressing at a swift speed alongside its integration with technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Simulation technology, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR). Robotics was always at the center of a future where industries are digital with automation at its core. However, industries that fully integrate AI and digital technology to enable automation with robots are still far away.
In the current world, car production and manufacturing is probably the industry with the highest level of robotic usage. One of the most prevalent uses of robotics and automation even in this industry is the Tesla manufacturing facility. Even though this is the case, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, admits that robots are tough to automate and efficiently run without advancing digital technologies like AI and more innovative technologies like the Offline Robot Programming Software Platform or Robotic Simulation Services.
However, with the advent of Industry 4.0, the next industrial revolution, we will see some industries take a 360-degree approach to robotics through digital technology. Robotics technology is a crucial part of this transformation. Hence, enterprises will have to change their traditional policy to robotics with a new innovative and modern digital strategy to keep up with the changing industry and competitors.
With that said, industrial robotics is complex, in fact, very hard. With industries and production, the site the robots will have to work in is susceptible to all kinds of risks. These risks are not only limited to humans but also to the industry itself. Production environments generally contain various types of materials and substances that can create many unforeseen circumstances and problems. For example, rusts or corrosion of machine parts or robots, leaks, noise pollution, etc., are issues that the production will have to deal with almost regularly. Pair this with unforeseen problems in machines since they run all the time; industrial environments are very tough for robots to survive, which is why the 360-degree approach to robots is so important.
Not just the risks and problems for the robots, but the aftermaths of these problems and faults are more expensive to a production site. For instance, when a robot fails, or an installation of a new robot occurs, the actual production environment will probably suffer from its downtime. And industries do certainly not like downtimes. Downtimes lead to the stopping of whole production facilities and bar the production, resulting in the loss. Furthermore, this loss becomes more substantial if the materials or products that are not complete can go wrong. It will add the loss of materials and incomplete products to lower numbers of outgoing products from the factories.
Robotics in industries possesses more importance when it comes to error detection. Since production sites and factories can be dangerous and harmful for humans since they have to approach the machines to detect errors, it can be hazardous and even fatal in some cases. Hence, the emergence of drones and locomotive robots is rising in this department. However, industries are still taking the old approaches to use robotics and digital technology.
Industries generally shape robots around the production and use cases in the production sites rather than the inverse. Although typically, enterprises approach robotics as only a medium to replace human resources either in potentially dangerous places or tasks that may not be possible for humans to perform, the 360-degree approach to robotics in the future would only develop the technology further. Instead of this, industries and production facilities should shape themselves around robotics. Of course, it does not mean changing the particular industries’ end goal towards robotics and its implementation. Instead, it means to shape the industry so that it embraces robotics and involves it in the actual process and communication of the production sites.
Usually, robots in industries are linear, i.e., they are put in place of a human to speed up a process/task with a set of inputs fed to them by the developers or operators. They only do or set out to do specific functions inside the production line.
For instance, we can use a robot to put a product inside a box, put product stickers in packages, and seal the box. However, these robots only perform one task, i.e., a robot for placing products in a box cannot close it or put product stickers on it. Therefore, it limits the opportunities and possibilities that robotics can unlock. For instance, with the integration of technologies like AI, robots can become more dynamic and a part of the actual production process rather than the production line.
With AI and technologies like simulation, innovations like Offline Robot Programming Software Platforms are possible. With this, robots become more helpful; they can even participate in production processes to make them brighter and effective. Moreover, With the possibilities of self real-time optimization and self-diagnosis possible, robots will become able to report errors or possible errors in the future and solve those problems faster than humans ever can. And the time essential for robots to process what went wrong and determine if a possible solution is tiny.
In comparison, humans must first come across the errors, either after the error has already happened or detect it beforehand. Then such errors have to go through actual experts and need proper analysis. Only after this, a solution can come up which can fix the problem. But, unfortunately, the developers or the debug team may misinterpret the answer due to insufficient data or enough time. Even during this time, though, the situation can escalate, sometimes even forcing a downtime in the production. But the upcoming 360-degree approach to robotics would change it all.
With the integration of robotics from the start, alongside the significant goals of the particular industry, the actual use cases of robotics with more comprehensive and newer possibilities can emerge. It will let the industries access the actual use case they want from robots and the robotic technology more appropriately instead of focusing on what robots can do afterward, limiting the robotic possibilities. Only after integrating robotics with the actual goal or vision can an industry properly access what they need from robotics and other complementary technologies.
Every industry has a different need. Along with this need, various production systems and methods emerge. Hence, every industry or company may need something different from robotic technology. Even without using the latest or bleeding-edge technology, a company may fulfill its actual needs, i.e., every company need not use them. Hence, every industry needs to use and approach robotics differently to achieve their needs.
For instance, in a data-driven industry, the static robots that cannot communicate or process does not make sense. Since it's a data-driven industry, utilizing such technology in their robots will provide them with numerous benefits.
In an industry where robots and humans have to work together, human-robot collaboration makes much sense for the upcoming 360-degree approach to robotics. For instance, to perform a task like inspection of a faulty machine, robots can collect data from the air or the ground, while humans can analyze them and provide their insight. It becomes even more efficient with technologies like digital twins, AR, or VR.
3D models with digital twins can be much more efficient if industries integrate them with robotics. Automation becomes much closer while remote operations can thrive. With simulation technology, the training and testing of robots will become a digital endeavor rather than an inefficient, risky and expensive physical approach. Digital technology for robotics can enable rapid prototyping, higher form of product innovation, more advanced Research and Development (R&D), all the while remaining inexpensive, safe, efficient, and fast.
The 360-degree approach to robotics would also impact how we teach the robots as well. Technologies like offline robot programming (OLP) will enable robotics to evolve more rapidly. Offline robot programming replaces the traditional approach to teaching robots with Teach Pendants. Teaching pendants can be very slow, inefficient, and resource-consuming on top of being a significant cause of downtimes when it comes to teaching a robot. Pendants require robots to be out of production and in teaching mode the whole time during their programming. It increases downtime during the installation of robots and brings downtimes if the production house wants to upgrade the programming or coding.
But OLP replaces all that with a software model of teaching. The generation, testing, and verification of the teaching programs are possible through software simulations through OLP. OLP effectively eliminates the need to take out robots during its teaching process, allowing production to continue and robots to work even when training. OLP even opens a path for rapid maintenance, repair, and continuous upgrading of robots, all due to its teaching possible through software updates. Along with this, adopting simulation technology is another major win in terms of robot research and development. Simulations with AI can enable whole new ways of robot development, testing, and deployment. Pair this with technologies like Machine Learning, deep learning, and digital twins, AR and VR. Robots will then indeed be able to thrive. Companies like FS Studio that thrive in product innovation and advanced R&D technology can provide the industry with a much-needed push to propel themselves towards Industry 4.0. With over a decade’s collective knowledge and experience, FS Studio delivers a plethora of solutions for robotic technology and helps companies take a 360-degree approach to robotics.
Computer Simulation of Human Robots Collaboration in the industries is closer than we think. The current industry is moving towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR). FIR or Industry 4.0 is the digital transformation of the existing industries to enable new ways of manufacturing & production with automation at its core. The digital world will effectively meet the real world at this stage, integrating them on a level never seen before. Human Robots collaboration is one of the significant parts of this integration. With transformative technologies like computer simulations, AR, VR, and digital twins, cooperation among humans and robots is an absolute path that the next generation of technology will take.
Computer simulation is a very crucial tool for industries like robotic research and engineering. With the increasing adoption of computer simulation in various industries, simulations are rapidly becoming a vital part of product innovation and R&D technology. It is especially true for the robotic industry since collaboration between humans and robots is an essential part of the human robot paradigm.
Where Does Computer Simulation Come into Play?
Some factors influence the possibility for robots and humans to work together and collaborate efficiently. One of the top priorities or factors that affect this collaboration is human safety. During the operation, development, or testing of this concept of computer simulation of human robots collaboration, human safety is a top priority and should never be compromised. For this, various safeguards or failsafe mechanisms, power limiting restrictions, tools to monitor for possible errors, and proper fallback plans can be helpful.
Alongside this, robots that are in use must be aware of their surroundings and environment. At the very least, the use case of the robot must reflect its awareness and capabilities. Furthermore, robots also must control and change their actions as per real-time feedback and happenings in their surroundings. Thus, it presents the robot research and development industry with another challenge of autonomy and the ability of robots to perceive their surroundings or environments efficiently.
Conversely, bidirectional communication among robots and humans may open the door to fulfilling all the requirements necessary for a safe and effective human robot collaboration. But achieving such a feat is also not possible without proper testing and massive investments of time, resources, and money.
Computer Simulations can solve all these problems and complexities with efficient and elegant solutions. Computer simulation technology provides a modeling system to visualize any complex system, even 3D digital space. For example, a robot consists of joints, motors, arms, actuators, sensors, links, controllers, and other mechanical and electronic components like a battery, processing unit, and networking interfaces. All these components and elements can be costly when they reach the level of sophistication a robot requires. Alongside this, integrating these components into a complete robotic system in which these components work together efficiently as a whole system is also a very complex and expensive task to accomplish. Nevertheless, this is where computer simulations come into play.
The advancement in computer simulation technology now allows for the simulation of all these components and elements in a fully functional robot. Alongside this, computer simulation software can also simulate various environments and conditions under which a robot may operate. Much like a natural environment, a simulation environment allows for multiple experiments, tests, and evaluation of a robot, except it, is without all the costs and risks present when testing the robot in the real world. Computer simulations also enable monitoring and assessing robots with a very high level of sophistication in virtually any environment or condition possible.
Why is Computer Simulation of Human Robots Collaboration Important?
The human robot collaboration is essential for the factories of the future and all the possibilities that follow. In a space where robots and humans can work together efficiently to complete different tasks, endless opportunities emerge. For example, robots allow us to perform precarious and dangerous jobs that require massive strength or skill, along with repetitive or requiring extra precision. Meanwhile, some jobs require human intervention due to either being too expensive or complex to automate and jobs that require critical thinking and human intelligence. Thus, it constructively allows industries to utilize the best of both worlds efficiently.
For instance, risky jobs like mining, exploration of unknown borders and areas, repetitive assignments, lifting heavy loads, etc., have more practical industry use cases for robot in the field, but they also require human intervention. Similarly, jobs that require extra precision, like in surgery, may be more suited for robots. Still, due to a lack of intelligence and critical thinking, it is currently unable to do so. Likewise, human intervention is essential in search and rescue operations, but it also requires scanning large and potentially unsafe environments that are more suited for robots or drones. Alongside this, all factories and manufacturing industries cannot generally use robots due to either being too expensive to automate the job or too complex for robots to perform. Hence, human resources are used in various factories and manufacturing sites, albeit the factory and manufacturing sites are dangerous and unsafe.
These difficulties are easily removable if computer simulation of human robots collaboration becomes very efficient and easy to realize. Moreover, if such cooperation becomes possible to achieve, one can reap potential benefits from both worlds. For instance, robot developers in health care organizations can utilize the precision of a robot and the critical thinking of a surgeon to develop a surgical robot to perform complex surgeries on patients.
Consequently, a collaboration between humans and robots that enables an open environment where humans and robots can work together to complete works with integration of benefits from both worlds is a very lucrative goal to achieve. Computer simulation opens the door to such a goal. Due to the numerous advantages computer simulations possess, various industries develop human robot collaboration systems.
Generally, robot development in computer simulation software starts with designing and prototyping the robot. It requires a massive amount of resources, cost, time, and multidisciplinary skills in the real world. Then, each prototype comes to its testing, assessment, and redesign of the system according to the evaluations and results. It also requires equally if not more massive amounts of resources, cost, time, and skills in the real world. For a complete robot consisting of all its features and functionalities and compliance with all the factors discussed above, this process of prototyping, redesign, and testing has to be repeated numerous times until the evaluation and results are entirely within acceptable terms.
However, with the help of computer simulations, all these processes become redundant. When robot development with computer simulations occurs, developers/manufacturers get a digital platform to perform rapid prototyping with testing, modeling, redesigning, and programming all within the simulation. With the help of the computer simulation, developers can design a robot with all the parts and components right from the start to get a robot model. This model can go through various experiments, evaluations, and assessments to ensure formal requirements compliance. If not, developers can make changes or even redesign the robot entirely without much effort since it's in a digital form.
Not only this enables rapid prototyping and development, it ensures that developers do not exhaust all their time worrying about resources or costs but utilize that time for better ideas and models. It also opens the door for creative minds to flourish and experiment with various designs and configurations of robots. Furthermore, since the initial design process starts with a digital model, developers can tweak, organize and play with different formats. Finally, it will ensure that the design phase outputs the team's accurate designs with an efficient and agile developmental process.
Moreover, testing and evaluation of robots in different environments is also possible with error reporting and monitoring systems working together to gather essential data. It ensures that all unexpected problems or errors that the developers may encounter during the physical build of the robot are taken care of and solved. Testing with trajectory planning, verifying algorithm operation and efficiency, verifying the integrity of the design, and overall working of the robot can all be done in simulations. Testing various fluid mechanisms, aerodynamics, mechanical integrity, and kinetic forces with realistic physics engines is also possible.
One of the most vital computer simulation of human robots collaboration is human safety. Simulations enable testing for human safety and protection in numerous conditions and environments. We can quickly test and examine communications, control, and safety mechanics inside computer simulations without ever having to put a human at risk. With technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and intelligent AI systems, humans can test these robots with immersive experiences in realistic environments without taking risks.
It will rapidly evolve the development of human robot collaboration with the power of rapid prototyping, innovative product development systems, and efficient R&D technology. Furthermore, with Industry 4.0 gradually moving from embedded systems towards the digital transformation of the industries, simulations can open the door to new ways of development and enhance the much sought-perfect cyber-physical system (CPS).
With the advent of computer simulations, robot development and research is moving away from machines with no or low-level intelligence towards a more autonomous, adaptable, flexible, and re-configurable system that can work efficiently with humans. With computer simulations, human collaboration with intelligent robots will be possible across various industries where the whole collaborative system will be efficient, sustainable, effective, and safe. And our approach of creating the computer simulation of human robots collaboration will be completed.