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‘World’s first robot employment agency’ will cut capital costs

05 February, 2020

A “robot employment agency” which will rent industrial robots to companies by the hour, or charge a “salary” based on the completion of tasks, has been set up as a joint venture between an Israeli developer of autonomous robots, called SixAI, and a Japanese affiliate of Honda, called Musashi Seimitsu. They say that their “unique” business model will give industrial users the option to source robotic labour without the significant capital costs of having to buy new robots.

Initially the MusashiAI JV will offer two fully autonomous robotic machines – a forklift and a visual inspector – which are currently being tested by Musashi Seimitsu, which manufactures  ​automotive transmission parts at 35 plants worldwide. Both are due to be launched commercially in the first half of this year.

MusashiAI says that its launch represents a “major leap forward in the deployment of robots”. The machines that it offers will be fully autonomous, rather than simply being automated. They will use machine learning to define the optimal way to perform tasks – as humans do. The company adds that the model of hiring robots by the hour or task will make them available to many more organisations.

According to MusashiAI, an experienced human quality control inspector takes about two seconds to check a manufactured part for defects and achieves an accuracy of around 97%. Conventional robots can take more than 20 seconds to inspect an item and have an accuracy of around 70%. MusashiAI says it inspection robots will achieve a similar performance to humans, with inspections taking two seconds and delivering a 98% accuracy.

MusashiAI’s visual inspection robot is said to achieve a similar performance to human inspectors

The second robot, a forklift, will provide autonomous material transport on shop floors without needing a special infrastructure. A task manager will connect to ERP systems to provide central task management and optimal workflows.

“Our goal is to find ways to integrate smart robots in real-world workplaces,” says SixAI ‘s founder and chairman, Ran Poliakine. “We want people and companies to be able to allocate repetitive, but essential, work to robot workers, while humans focus on the more complex and engaging tasks, where they have a competitive advantage over machines.”

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