The Topic Group Industrial Robotics (TG Industrial Robotics) looks at topics like digitalisation of production, perception, human-robot collaboration, and safety with a view towards industrial manufacturing and goals like increased efficiency, higher quality, and better workplaces for humans in the factory. 

This month we caught up with Dr. José Saenz, Leader of the Assistance Service and Industrial Robotics Group within the Business Unit Robotic Systems at Fraunhofer IFF, and coordinator of this topic group. 


euRobotics: The TG Industrial Robotics has actively contributed to the Roadmap 2030, can you tell us more about it? 

JS: The TG contributed to the Roadmap 2030 through a new approach whereby we identified the state of the art of technologies and systems in deployment (corresponding to a TRL 8-9), of research activities (TRL between 5-7), and also of research activities with very low TRL (2-4). The topics were clustered into 5 groups, including General, Inspection, Intervention, Transportation, and Collaboration. The Board of Directors and the Roadmapping team of euRobotics are now working to translate that state of the art into topics and activities that the upcoming EU Programmes within Horizon Europe should include.  


In what other roadmapping activities is the topic group working on? 

JS: We are currently looking for ways to encourage interactions within the TG that will generate value for the individuals involved and for the Roadmapping activities. We have begun discussions on a joint journal paper (peer-reviewed) that will focus on the state of the art of topics relevant to the group. These include topics related to human-robot interaction, robot perception for industrial processes (for safety, interaction, and/or process-control), and levels of robot cognition within the field of industrial robotics. Any interested researchers who would like to contribute and become involved in high-quality exchange with other euRobotics researchers can contact me jose.saenz@iff.fraunhofer.de or my colleague Mathias Brandstötter, mathias.brandstoetter@joanneum.at 


Are you (the TG) organising a workshop at ERF2022?  

JS: We are excited about the ERF workshop we are co-organising with the TG-Sustainability. Nowadays, engineers are accepting responsibility towards contributing to sustainability goals, and while it’s quite new and challenging for roboticists to identify how they can contribute. It is great to see we’re widening our view of the solution space and taking larger, societal level challenges into account.  

The workshop focuses on how companies can work in a more sustainable way with the help of industrial and collaborative robots, and it is addressed to end-users (e.g. companies who are introducing industrial and collaborative robots in their production line) as well as researcher and robotics companies working with these end-users. The workshop will explore attendees’ attitudes towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), how they contribute to the SDGs and the challenges they have met or anticipate on their journey towards a more sustainable way of working.  


For more information about the Topic Group Industrial Robotics and their ERF2022 workshop visit, https://sparc-robotics-portal.eu/topic-groups and https://erf2022.eu/programme/