ARI researchers aid software development for CoBot Factory project


The Cobot Factory project is part of the $100M Center for Networked Intelligent Components and Environments (C-NICE) within the Grainger College of Engineering at Illinois. C-NICE is funded through a partnership between the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Foxconn Interconnect Technology.

The motivation for this project is to automate specific pre-assembly tasks in the production of USB Type-C connectors. This automation need arises because using custom machinery for these tasks is not cost effective for low-volume production, leading to these processes being manually completed by operators. The use of CoBots offers a flexible and cost-effective solution to this challenge.

Collaborative robots, or "CoBots," are designed to work alongside human operators in a shared workspace. Unlike traditional industrial robots that often require safety barriers and operate in isolation from humans, CoBots are built with safety features and sensors that allow them to detect and respond to the presence of humans, making them safer for close-proximity work.

ARI joined the research project in the third year under the Parasol Group led by Dr. Nancy Amato to aid in the development of the CoBot Motion Planning software library PMPL (Parasol Motion Planning Library). This library is responsible for developing a plan for robots to get from point A to point B, while avoiding obstacles.