A Little Self Driving Robot Makes Life Easier For Ford Employees

 

These days it seems more and more like Ford is getting heavily involved with robotics, but maybe this is just a glimpse into the autonomous future that Ford hopes to build. This time we’re taking a look at a little guy called Survival.

 

Survival is a self-driving robot that delivers spare parts around one of Ford’s manufacturing plants. Survival is so named because it dodges unforeseen objects, changes its route accordingly, and stops anytime something is truly unavoidable.

 

This robot was entirely developed by Ford engineers and it’s the first of its kind to be used in any of the company’s facilities.

 

“We programmed it to learn the whole of the plant floor so, together with sensors, it doesn’t need any external guides to navigate,” said Eduardo García Magraner, engineering manager, at Ford’s state-of-the-art body and stamping plant in Valencia, Spain, where Survival is being tested out.

 

Survival is essential to keeping business running smoothly at its plant. The robot delivers spare parts and welding materials to all different stations around the factory throughout the day. For Survival it’s easy, brainless work, and that’s why it’s perfect for the job. Survival isn’t replacing any workers either, in fact he’s freeing people up for more complex work. No one has to do this mundane task anymore since Survival’s got it covered.

 

The self-driving bot is equipped with an automated shelf which has 17 slots to hold materials of different weights and sizes. To avoid any errors, the opening and closing of these slots is automated, so when survival makes a delivery no mishaps can occur.

 

Survival’s been on trial now for almost a year according to Magraner, “It’s become quite a valuable team member.” Magraner went on to say that he hopes more robots like Survival can be put to work in more Ford facilities full-time.

 

Of course this isn’t the only smart robot employed by Ford’s facilities. Robotics are important in the Ford mission of building a better future for everyone.

 

Survival uses LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to visualize its surroundings which is the same technology used in Ford’s prototype autonomous vehicles. We hope that this little robot can be a huge factor in the creation of self driving Fords!

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