Latest in Culture

Image credit: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mercedes replaces robots with people on its assembly line

Robots can't keep up with all the custom options.
Billy Steele
02.25.16
452 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We've all heard stories about how the robots are taking our jobs. While that may be true, Mercedes-Benz is replacing some of its high-tech workers with real live humans. As it turns out, robots can't keep up with the degree of customization that the automaker offers on its S-Class sedans. To be fair, there are four different types of caps for the tires alone, not to mention options for carbon fiber trim and temperature-controlled cup holders.

"Robots can't deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today," said the company's head of production Markus Schaefer. "We're saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people."

The change comes at a time when a number of companies are replacing people with robotic devices. International Federation of Robotics (IFR) released a survey today stating that 1.3 million of the industrial robots will be in use by 2018. In fact, the number of those machines rose 43 percent in a year between 2013 and 2014. However, as Mercedes continues to expand the options available on its vehicles, the robots aren't able to adapt to new tasks. They're better suited for doing the same jobs repeatedly.

"The variety is too much to take on for the machines," Schaefer explained. "They can't work with all the different options and keep pace with changes."

Robots aren't getting the boot from Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen factory entirely, though. The machines will work alongside humans instead of being confined behind glass. Mercedes, BMW and Audi are all working on sensor-packed robots that can operate safely alongside their living breathing colleagues.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
452 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Comcast officially purchases Xumo ad-supported streaming service

Comcast officially purchases Xumo ad-supported streaming service

View
Uber, Lyft may create more CO2 emissions than trips they displace

Uber, Lyft may create more CO2 emissions than trips they displace

View
Grimes details her character's backstory in 'Cyberpunk 2077'

Grimes details her character's backstory in 'Cyberpunk 2077'

View
Disney CEO Bob Iger steps down after getting Disney+ off the ground

Disney CEO Bob Iger steps down after getting Disney+ off the ground

View
Smithsonian opens up 2.8 million images to the public

Smithsonian opens up 2.8 million images to the public

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr