Say hello to your new colleague: Ocado's robot will work collaboratively with humans

Alys Key
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The SecondHands robot works collaboratively with humans (Source: Ocado Tech)

Super-strong robots could soon be helping to keep Ocado's delivery schedule on time.

The first prototype of the EU-funded SecondHands robot was unveiled today. The humanoid robot is designed to help maintenance technicians to keep the automated machinery that sorts customers' orders working.

A collaboration between Ocado Technology and researchers from four European universities, the robotic assistant has been designed to have a high level of human-robot interaction, superhuman strength, and cognitive decision-making.

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This means it can actively learn from humans through observation and help them to complete tasks.

Watch the video below to see the robot in more detail.

The interaction with humans means the robot will be a collaboration-bot or "cobot", which developers hope will demonstrate how productive human-robot collaboration can be.

The project taps into afast-growing segment of the industrial robots market. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), industrial robot installations are forecast to grow by 15 per cent in 2018.

Ocado plans to use the cobots in its highly automated fulfilment centres, sorting through 260,000 orders per week.

The company's management has previously spoken about the troubles it faces in meeting demand, and pledged to increase capacity, meaning there could be even more fulfilment centres in which to install this kind of technology.

Read more: Rise of the robots: Risk to more jobs as minimum wage increases warns IFS

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