A-level Graphic Products/Edexcel/Unit 3 :Designing for the Future/Systems and control/Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

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Robots in automated manufacturing systems[edit]

Currently robots are mainly used in the manufacturing industry working on automated production with manufacturing cells. These robots are machines that are re-programmable that are designed to manipulate and transport parts, tools and specialist processes; this can be achieved through various motion and it's used to achieve a a specific manufacturing task.[1] Japan are having further advances in robot technology, robot arms directly controlled by humans.

Robots generally have more freedom than just regular CNC; they can be used for tasks like painting, welding, material handling and assembly work. Robots can also have sensors added, this allows for feedback.[2]

Advantages Disadvantages
Good for repetitive, monotonous, mundane tasks with precision. There's no standard programming language for robots, this means people need to learn a new language.
Good for hazardous environment (no one can get hurt). Maintenance issues as there are many different types of robots, meaning that there's no standard check-up procedure, people need to be trained to test/fix each machine differently.
Can hold heavy loads. High cost in making the robots safe around humans, sensors needed.
Can create high-quality products due to the sensors and high precision. High set-up costs to buy the robots.
It doesn't cost a lot as they can work through the night. Not as flexible as humans, harder to program to do a specific task.
They do not tire over time like people do. Robots don't have as many high-quality sensors like humans do (humans have: touch, vision, hearing, pattern recognition).
Highly flexible, can be re-programmed (can adapt to new trends without buying new machinery).

Industrial applications of artificial intelligence (AI)[edit]

ASIMO (2000) at the Expo 2005, a bipedal humanoid robot.

An AI robot is a robot that has human-like features, for instance, they have the ability to learn and react through experiences. The big problem that robot engineers/programmers face is trying to make robots to have feelings.

Expert systems[edit]

A robot expert system is a system where they have the ability to process large amount of information and make decision based upon that information, like what a human would.[3] An example of a expert system is an AI that you could play chess with; many moves have been taken into account before it moves, just like a human would.

Expert systems linked with voice recognition would allow people to talk to them in order to solve problems. In the future, this technology would act as a personal assistant for people.

Autonomous robots[edit]

The ideal robot would be one that doesn't need to be programmed, one that learns the skills needed to perform in a particular environment. Intelligence is the key to this, not cameras (this is because cameras aren't as good as the human eye). However when it comes to robots, they can sense other things better than use like heat and X-rays.

Humans use some guess-work and assumptions to come to conclusions, robots use sensors and they decode each pixel from the camera and analyse the scene, this allows them to make their decisions that way.