Editor’s Notebook: Random Tidbits of Robot News and Other Stuff
July 05, 2019      

The Friday after a holiday seems like a good time to clean out the old inbox and write about some things that were interesting, but not long enough for an entire post (hey, these things take some time to create!). The following is usually called a “Reporter’s Notebook”, but I’m upgrading it here to “Editor’s Notebook” for you because that’s the type of guy I am.

Yaskawa Motoman announces robot contest winner

Team from Beistle Company, which won the Yaskawa Motoman MotoMini contest.

At April’s Automate show in Chicago, Yaskawa Motoman held a “Win a MotoMini” contest, in which contestants were invited to submit ideas for ways they could use a MotoMini in their facilities. This week, the company said the Beistle Company, in Shippensburg, Pa., has won the contest. The MotoMini robot provides a high-speed application flexibility in small part handling and assembly applications, Yaskawa said.

Caleb Crawford, an electromechanical technician at Beistle, submitted the winning entry for using the robot in a small-parts picking application. Beistle Company is the largest manufacturing of decorations and party goods in the U.S.

“As a company we’ve experienced the strong return on investment that robotic automation can bring to the table,” said Jody Messich, manager of machine development and production automation at Beistle. “We’re excited to begin the MotoMini integration process and document our progress with the robot on the production floor.”

Yaskawa said more than 230 entries were submitted for the contest. Congratulations to Beistle!

RoboTaxi side effect – motion sickness

editor's notebook article motion sickness self-driving carAs the industry continues to develop self-driving cars, humans are finding that they have a lot of more free time to do things in cars, like reading or watching movies. But this is causing some people to experience motion sickness as they are unprepared for forces generated by acceleration, braking or turning.

Two Malaysian researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Nidzamuddin Md. Yusof and Juffrizal Karjanto, are looking at alleviating this problem by increasing passengers’ situational awareness. The two build a Mobility Lab, a special car outfitted with instruments that simulates an autonomous car.

You can read more about their research here.

Future of work guide from Forrester

Research and advisory firm Forrester recently released a guide to the future of work, attempting to go beyond the typical hype about job losses and what the impact of automation and robotics will have on leaders, employees, customers, and companies.

The firm said automation will have implications in four main areas related to the future of work:

Forrester chart future of work

Image: (PRNewsfoto/Forrester)

1) Impact on jobs: The firm said job losses will occur – 29% by 2030, with only 13% job creation to compensate. Those affected will be single-domain knowledge workers, physical workers, function-specific knowledge workers, location-based workers, coordinators, and cubicle jobs. Those with increases include human-touch workers, cross-domain knowledge workers, teachers/explainers, and “digital elite jobs”.

2) Economic opportunity/disparity: The firm said Automation will exacerbate income disparity, as dividends shift to digital-savvy leaders, and negatively impact non-digital workers unable to skill up fast enough.

3) Global market impact: Automation is disrupting offshoring, and also applying pressure on economies to build domestic demand that can counter-balance changing global demand.

4) How work gets done: Forrester said “work will depend on a symbiotic relationship between man and machine.” Leadership, decision-making, and execution tasks will need to occur across robots and humans in order to deliver the best outcome, the firm said.

You can download the company’s guide here.

China’s Syrius Robotics ships AMRs to Japan

FlexComet SL50 – world`s first Syrius AMR production version

Shenzhen, China-based Syrius Robotics this week announced the mass production and shipments of its AMRs, which the company calls Automatic Mobile Robot (we refer to AMRs as autonomous mobile robots). Shipments are heading to Japan, to be deployed as part of Syrisu’ smart logistics solution for empowering productivity of customers’ warehouses, the company said.

Syrius said it established an office Tokyo, and built a local service and engineering team to provide technical support. It also said that “according to public data, it is the first time for China AMR providers to ship their products to overseas customers.” Luo Xuan, the co-founder and general manager at Syrius, said customers could expect an increase of their warehouse productivity up from 300 to 500%.

Brain Corp opens European headquarters

Another company making moves is RBR50 2019 honoree Brain Corp, which announced opening its first European headquarters in Amsterdam. Brain Corp Europe “will serve as a hub for operations, software development, and continuing R&D activities,” the company said in a statement.

The European office is the second international office for the San Diego-based company – in 2017, the company opened a facility in Tokyo. “We chose Amsterdam as Brain Corp’s European headquarters primarily for its central location, open business environment, prevalence of academic labs, and proven commitment to the cultivation of a robust AI and robotics ecosystem,” said Christian Cornelius-Knudsen, senior vice president of global sales and services for Brain.

Local Motors searches for Pacific Northwest applications for Olli

Local Motors, which has run a series of Olli Fleet Challenges for communities interested in deploying its self-driving shuttle known as Olli, wants to head to the Pacific Northwest. This week the customer is asking communities to propose a short-term, local use for Olli. The company said entries are evaluated by a panel of judges with industry experience before an Olli fleet is deployed.

Image: Local Motors

Since starting the challenge, Local Motors said it has deployed Olli shuttles in California, at a military installation near Washington, D.C., and along a busy thoroughfare in Australia. Additional deployments are expected in Southern California, Atlanta, and Central Europe in coming months.

“Endless use possibilities exist for Oli, and we’ve seen that with recent deployments at college campuses, on a military base, and at a busy state exposition and fairgrounds in California,” said Jay Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Local Motors. “Everything about Olli changes the way we can and will engage with transportation options, including its autonomous and sustainable design. We look forward to seeing how Olli can impact mobility across Washington and Oregon.”

The deadline for submitting proposals is August 26, 2019, the company said. Visit the company’s website for more details.

Other links worth reading

In case you get bored with my prose, here are some other interesting articles worth reading today:

That’s it for our editor’s notebook – have a great weekend, everyone!