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Technologies that are shaking up manufacturing

Rebecca Merrett | Oct. 20, 2015
What 3D printing, robots, smart sensors an driverless cars are doing for manufacturers.

When a person stand unusually close to the robot, it’ll stop completely, he continues. In the worst case scenario where it hits a human, it’s designed specifically to avoid forceful impact. “I haven’t had it hit an operator yet, but if it does it really is quite gentle,” Murphy says.

Prysm’s objective is not about replacing staff, but freeing them up to operate other machines and do higher-level tasks, leaving mind-numbing and repetitive tasks to the robots.

“Also, labelling has to be in a set position every time, has to be applied without creases or air bubbles - the robot does it the same time, every time, and a lot better than a human can,” Murphy adds.

However, there are some minor restriction with the UR5 in that it only has a reach of about XXX metres so it can only handle objects within about a metre radius.

Driverless cars

If there is one technology disrupting not just car manufacturing but the nature of driving itself, it’s the driverless car. Having driverless cars optimise themselves to pick up and drop people off upon request through an app, so they never have to buy and own their own car, is not far-fetched.

GoGet in Australia, a car sharing service company, is working towards this ambition by engineering its own driverless car. It currently has a test car and is further developing the technology to roll out in future.

GoGet Carshare CEO, Tristan Sender, says the car would pick up customers and go to the destination, then pick up someone else. “It would work out through algorithms to make sure they are being as efficient as possible with where they go and who they pick up,” he says.

“The car would already probably have who it would pick up next before you even get out of the vehicle.”

GoGet is investing in the driverless car as it sees this as the next step in car sharing.

“It’s a more efficient version of sharing. So we may provide the self-driving car service to people just like we currently provide car share service to people,” Sender says. “You’ll probably see large savings in terms of cost as well, because the level of efficiency of these vehicles.”

The South Australian Government announced in February that it will reform legislation to allow for driverless cars in the future. Sender says this opens the door to innovation around car services. “It allows for new things to be developed that will benefit society in the long term,” Sender claims.

“What this is going to do is make other transport authorities think more about it,” adds University of NSW’s transport engineer, Vinayak Dixit, who is developing GoGet’s driverless car. The car takes in real-time feeds from what’s happening around it through sensors and its perception system. The next step is having vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.


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