Ford now has some robot “dogs” that do tasks at its transmission plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. I hate them.
First let’s examine a video, produced by Ford. It features an employee treating this robot as if it is a sentient being, which it is not.
Now let’s examine a GIF. The creepy movement of these robots, produced by Boston Dynamics and leased to Ford, never gets old even though the Boston Dynamics robots have been around for years.
Here is another robot with Fluffy, also bad.
Ford says that the robots help in scanning the plant, which humans now do. Ford, of course, presents this an amazing technological achievement and says it could save it tens of thousands of dollars.
The robots, which Ford is piloting at its Van Dyke Transmission Plant, are bright yellow and easily recognizable. Equipped with five cameras, the robots can travel up to 3 mph on a battery lasting nearly two hours and will be used to scan the plant floor and assist engineers in updating the original Computer Aided Design which is utilized when we’re getting ready to retool our plants.
“We design and build the plant. After that, over the years, changes are made that rarely get documented,” says Mark Goderis, Ford’s digital engineering manager. “By having the robots scan our facility, we can see what it actually looks like now and build a new engineering model. That digital model is then used when we need to retool the plant for new products.”
Without Fluffy, the update would be far more tedious.
“We used to use a tripod, and we would walk around the facility stopping at different locations, each time standing around for five minutes waiting for the laser to scan,” Goderis recalls. “Scanning one plant could take two weeks. With Fluffy’s help, we are able to do it in half the time.”
The old way also was expensive – it cost nearly $300,000 to scan one facility. If this pilot works, Ford’s manufacturing team could scan all its plants for a fraction of the cost. These cutting-edge technologies help save the company money and retool facilities faster, ultimately helping bring new vehicles to market sooner.
So much efficiency! Surely we will all still have jobs once the robots get around to doing all the other work humans do. Fire these robots into the sun, please. Thanks!