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VW and startup Wandelbots establish JV in human-robot collaboration; demonstration-based teaching

Volkswagen’s Gläserne Manufaktur (Transparent Factory) and Dresden-based start-up Wandelbots have established a novel joint venture in human-robot collaboration (HRC).

The partners will establish and operate an innovative station at the Gläserne Manufaktur to test new HRC applications in vehicle end-assembly to prepare those applications for serial production. The plan is to train industrial robots efficiently using an innovative sensor jacket fitted with sensors and actuators. The activities in Dresden will cover the assembly, logistics and maintenance of Volkswagen’s electric Golf production.

From this partnership, Volkswagen hopes to bring automation projects to bear in industrial applications more quickly and with significantly reduced expense.

—Marco Weiss, Head of New Mobility & Innovations for Gläserne Manufaktur

Wandelbots, a spin-off from the TU Dresden, is working on a product that enables industrial robots to be programmed quickly with the aid of smart clothing, for which items of clothing are fitted with various sensors and actuators. The sensors detect human movements in real time, while the actuators provide haptic feedback.

The sensor data is wirelessly transmitted to a software program, which controls a robot based on the movement data.

This allows a robot to be taught a clearly defined task by way of example and imitation.

—Christian Piechnick, Founder and Managing Director of Wandelbots

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