Mercedes-Benz testing Apollo humanoid


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Apptronik Apollo moves a tote.

Apollo transferring a tote on the Mercedes manufacturing unit. | Credit score: Apptronik

Apptronik at the moment introduced that main automotive model Mercedes-Benz is testing its Apollo humanoid robotic. As a part of the settlement, Apptronik and Mercedes-Benz will collaborate on figuring out purposes for Apollo in automotive settings.

Mercedes-Benz is exploring how properly Apollo can deliver elements to the manufacturing line for employees to assemble, whereas concurrently inspecting the parts. Apollo may also be examined at delivering totes of kitted elements later within the manufacturing course of.

“Once we got down to construct Apollo, an settlement just like the one we’re asserting at the moment with Mercedes-Benz was a dream state of affairs,” Jeff Cardenas, co-founder & CEO of Apptronik, mentioned in a press assertion. “Mercedes plans to make use of robotics and Apollo for automating some low-skill, bodily difficult, guide labor – a mannequin use case which we’ll see different organizations replicate within the months and years to come back.”

The Robotic Report reached out to each Apptronik and Mercedes to study extra, however hadn’t heard again at press time. In the meanwhile, it’s unclear what number of Apollos are being examined, if a number of automotive crops are concerned, and what the extent of this partnership is. The pictures Apptronik shared present Apollo in a plant in Hungary.

Humanoid race heats up

Apptronik unveiled Apollo in August 2023 and is without doubt one of the early innovators within the humanoid race, becoming a member of the likes of Agility Robotics’ Digit and Tesla Optimus. Since August, further producers have thrown their collective hats within the humanoid ring, together with 1X, Determine AI, Sanctuary AI, Unitree, LimX and Fourier Intelligence.

The robotics market is at a singular cut-off date the place the entire enabling applied sciences that make a humanoid viable are coming collectively. This contains the large leaps in AI maturity and mannequin coaching over the past two years, the facility of edge compute, battery capability, and the maturation of legged movement algorithms.

However there are at the least two huge looming questions: “What can humanoids reliably do?” and “Does it make sense for robots to be on legs versus wheels?” A key milestone for these humanoid producers is to cross these early exams and safe reference prospects that validate the robotic’s performance and assist information the product roadmap.

Apollo walks on factory floor.

Apollo can autonomously navigate the manufacturing unit ground and keep away from obstacles. | Credit score: Apptronik

Automotive manufacturing is the main adopter of robotics worldwide. Automotive producers are beneath stress to enhance high quality, and scale back prices, all whereas struggling to cope with labor points. It makes good sense that the automotive market would discover how humanoids may assist. Optimus can be examined at inside Tesla manufacturing crops, Determine has an settlement with BMW, and Agility Robotics has landed pilots with Amazon and GXO Logistics.

Why humanoids? Why now?

Again to the query of “Why humanoids?” Apptronik mentioned the addition of humanoids to factories and crops would enable organizations like Mercedes-Benz to deploy robotics which can be optimized to carry out in areas which can be designed for people, thus avoiding full-scale facility redesigns which can be constructed round robots relatively than folks. Briefly, this strategy facilities on automating some bodily demanding, repetitive, and boring duties for which it’s more and more exhausting to seek out dependable employees.

Apollo, which has a type issue that roughly matches the scale of a human employee (5 ft 8 inches tall and 160 lb with the power to carry 55 lb), is constructed to function in industrial areas. Mixed with a singular power management structure that maintains protected operation round folks (much like a collaborative robotic versus a conventional industrial robotic), Apollo’s design permits it to work alongside folks whereas concurrently taking over bodily demanding duties, Apptronik mentioned.

woman and apollo humanoid.

Apollo can safely work aspect by aspect and collaboratively with people on the manufacturing line. | Credit score: Apptronik

“To construct probably the most fascinating vehicles, we regularly evolve the way forward for automotive manufacturing. Developments in robotics and AI open up new alternatives for us. We’re exploring new potentialities with the usage of robotics to assist our expert workforce in manufacturing,” mentioned Jörg Burzer, member of the board of administration of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, manufacturing, high quality & provide chain administration. “This can be a new frontier, and we wish to perceive the potential each for robotics and automotive manufacturing to fill labor gaps in areas equivalent to low talent, repetitive and bodily demanding work and to liberate our extremely expert group members on the road to construct the world’s most fascinating vehicles.”

Jonathan Hurst, co-founder and chief robotic officer of Agility Robotics, will keynote the Robotics Summit & Expo, which runs Could 1-2 in Boston. The occasion expects greater than 5,000 attendees and is designed to assist robotics engineers overcome the technical challenges of constructing business robots. The Robotics Summit & Expo is produced by The Robotic Report and dad or mum firm WTWH Media.

Hurst’s keynote on Could 1 from 9:00 to 9:45 a.m. ET is titled “Humanoid Robots Get to Work.” It should discover the technological breakthroughs propelling humanoids like Digit into real-world use instances. Attendees will study concerning the ongoing challenges and alternatives and can go inside Digit’s first pilots.


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