MRO still relies primarily upon a human workforce
The reason for this is simple. No other alternative has been able to provide the same level of advanced ability to strategically understand and cognitively adapt to this complex ecosystem that these workers operate in. To date, nothing can work or adapt as fast as a human.
Therefore, the mission of a typical robotics scientist should be to drastically reduce the risks that human operators face within the MRO value chain. They can do this by trying to place collaborative robots within the value chain equation.
I believe Europe should set a disruptive example for the whole world to follow by embracing these new working practices that use technology to ensure public health.
If they are able to accomplish these large technical and scientific leaps, we could see the mass adoption of collaborative robots used across a multitude of applications, from agriculture to energy generation.
The next generation of collaborative robots that we are likely to see will be equipped with physical and cognitive skills. For such robots to be effectively deployed on maintenance sites, there is a critical need to immediately understand working practices and operational constraints. They will need to capture the goals and constraints of the tasks, while minimizing the major overhaul that will take place for how the human workforce operates.
For humans and robots to collaborate successfully, the key barriers associated with how humans competently handle robots will need to be overcome. Above all, it is not reasonable to ask a human workforce to acquire skills in robotic programming or to automatically exchange information through coding.