Social implications of robotics in manufacturing industry (IR@MI), KIT

The traditional idea that automation is a technological milestone with evident economic and unquestionable benefits is still an approach that ignores research on the relation of automation to work organization. Integrative tasks as well as control tasks can be taken over by human workers. Humans are also better at dealing with unexpected events to keep production lines running. But this perspective has been continuously threatened through technocentric approaches that aim to avoid the involvement of humans in the automated production systems.

The project envisages to contribute for a national research network of social scientists in the field of industrial and professional robotics, and to identify insights gained from research on robotics in manufacturing industry with the purpose of transferring these insights into other working fields (e.g. service robotics in health care).Knowledge rom those other fields can also be applied to industrial robotics and professional service robotics.

This start-up project also envisages to contribute to link research areas of "Humans and Technology" (MuT) and "Anthropomatics and Robotics" (AuR) at KIT in the application field of manufacturing and in the production sector. It will identify relevant research questions about the possibility of developing safer robot systems in closer human-machine interaction systems at the manufacturing shop floor level, and it will prepare the basis for a strategic research agenda for KIT in the field of social implications of robotics and autonomous systems.