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UR: ‘Physical AI powers robots with humanlike perception’

by Marco van der Hoeven

With ‘physical AI,’ artificial intelligence is moving out of its digital confines to power robotic applications with humanlike perception, creating solutions that can handle variation without prior teaching or programming. Nowhere is that more pronounced than at this year’s Automate show in Chicago, May 6-9.  Over 50 robots from Universal Robots (UR) are set to demonstrate new capabilities that integrate artificial intelligence for more dynamic and intuitive tasks.

Ujjwal Kumar, Group President of Teradyne Robotics, the parent company of UR, explained the concept of intelligent automation where robots evolve from mere tools to collaborative partners that can enhance productivity and creativity in the workplace.

One notable innovation at the event is an autonomous inspection solution by UR, which utilizes NVIDIA’s accelerated path planning tools to achieve speeds 50-80 times faster than current methods. This development is part of a collaboration with NVIDIA and will be integrated into UR’s upcoming PolyScope X operating software.

Additionally, the Automate show will feature solutions from UR partners like Photoneo and Siemens. Photoneo is set to reveal an AI-enabled multi-view localization solution for 3D bin picking at their booth, which involves a UR cobot and advanced scanning technology to facilitate dynamic picking tasks. Siemens will introduce SIMATIC Robot Pick AI, a deep learning-based vision software for automated piece picking in warehousing and e-commerce, which can handle a wide range of unknown parts.

UR is also showcasing new cobot models at the show, including the UR30, known for its high torque capabilities suited for precise tightening tasks, and the UR20, which will demonstrate its reach and payload capacities in a palletizing setup. A new coordinated motion feature will be highlighted as well, enhancing the efficiency of welding tasks by synchronizing cobot movements with external axes.

Moreover, UR is unveiling UR Care, a service initiative designed to ensure reliable cobot performance with onsite and remote support options. The show will also host a range of interactive experiences, such as mobile cobot demonstrations, ecosystem tours, and a scavenger hunt organized by UR. Educational initiatives are also a part of the event, with the UR Education Zone offering hands-on tasks for students and educators to engage with cobot technology.

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