How Humans and Robots Can Work Hand in Hand in the Future

How can humans and robots work together safely? A project that has begun at the BIBA addresses this question. Together with partners, an autonomous assistance system for this interface is to be developed by 2020. The federal government is funding the project with 1.3 million euros.

If you come too close to a working industrial robot, it stops working immediately. Because of the high risk of injury, there are strict safety regulations. That’s why robots work in cages. In production, close hand-in-hand cooperation between humans and robots has hardly been possible up to now, but it is increasingly needed. This is important in order to improve working conditions at ergonomically unfavorable workstations. Processes in industrial assembly, especially in small and medium-sized companies, could be simplified and the cooperation between human and machine could be made more economically sustainable.

Research Is Picking Up Speed

The new research project “Autonomes Assistenzsystem zur Unterstützung von MRK-Montageprozessen” (autonomous assistance system for the support of human-robot collaboration in assembly processes) searches for solutions for these requirements. The abbreviation MRK stands for “Mensch-Roboter-Kollaboration” (human-robot collaboration).  Thanks to the construction of a demonstrator at the BIBA – Bremen Institute of Industrial Technology and Applied Work Science at the University of Bremen, the research has now picked up speed.

Use of Artificial Intelligence

In this project, a novel assistance system for assembly work is to be developed based on the use of artificial intelligence – it should operate in close proximity to humans and be sensor-controlled. A particular challenge is the high safety requirements. As early as summer 2020, the project team wants to demonstrate what the relieving, safe, hand-in-hand cooperation between human and machine in assembly might look like in the future, and how it can also support basic and advanced training.

Cooperation with Three Partners

In addition to the BIBA, the partners Pumacy Technologies (Berlin/Bremen, coordinator), Block Transformatoren-Elektronik (Verden), and Arend Prozessautomation (Wittlich) are working together on the two-year project. It is receiving 1.3 million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.


Professor Klaus-Dieter Thoben
BIBA – Bremen Institute of Industrial Technology and Applied Work Science
University of Bremen
Phone.: +49 421 218-50006
E-mail: thoprotect me ?!biba.uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Aaron Heuermann
Phone: +49 421 218-50172
E-mail: herprotect me ?!biba.uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de




Mann mit Roboterarm
The demonstrator for the project has already been set up in the BIBA hall. Coils with a high weight have to be precisely installed in the cooperation of humans and robots.