Empowering Workers in a Mixed Skills Concept for Collaborative Robot Systems

Norbert Huchler, Ingmar Kessler, Florian Lay, Alexander Perzylo, Michael Seidler and Franz Steinmetz

Workshop on Accessibility of Robot Programming and Work of the Future, Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS),

July 2021


One aspect of digital transformation in manufacturing is the trend toward mass customization, which requires a more flexible production paradigm. Human-robot collaboration and knowledge-based engineering are approaches that meet these requirements. In our work, we combine them in our mixed skills concept that incorporates the strengths of human workers and robots. We assume that while the workplaces of many workers may change, they will continue to play a vital role due to their experience and flexibility. They can perform various types of tasks that are still beyond the capabilities of robots. Yet, their responsibilities may shift towards decision makers and problem solvers for robots. Our approach to facilitate such collaboration is to apply insights from social science regarding empowerment in the work context to determine design goals and potential solutions for collaborative robot systems. The technical implementation is based on semantic descriptions of relevant aspects of automation using OWL ontologies and intuitive user interfaces.

subject terms:robotics, empress