Thursday, February 04, 2010

GM, NASA team up on robot

This just in from our sister paper, Detroit Free Press:

By Tim Higgins, Free Press Reporter

After about three years of work, General Motors and NASA today are showing off the next generation of an advanced robot that is said to be faster and more dexterous than previous attempts by the agency.

Robonaut2 - or R2 - appears in a video to be a sleek humanoid robot and is shown writing, shaking hands and performing tasks, such as lifting weights and picking up an envelope.

The two organizations say the partnership is about creating technologies that will help both the automotive and aerospace industries.

"For GM, this is about safer cars and safer plants. When it comes to future vehicles, the advancements in controls, sensors and vision technology can be used to develop advanced vehicle safety systems," Alan Taub, GM's vice president for global research and development, said in a statement. "The partnership's vision is to explore advanced robots working together in harmony with people, building better, higher quality vehicles in a safer, more competitive manufacturing environment."

GM can see using the technology in the assembly plants where it already uses robotic technology. The Detroit automaker also sees potential applications in vehicle safety systems.

Meanwhile, NASA wants to build machines that help humans work and explore space. "Working side-by-side with humans, or going where the risks are too great for people, machines like Robonaut will expand our ability for construction and discovery," Mike Coats, NASA's Johnson Space Center director, said in a statement.

The humanoid robot Robonaut was first designed and built by NASA in a collaborative effort with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency a decade ago.

R2 has hands that do work beyond the previous scope of the earlier version.

GM and NASA have a long history together, including working together on the development of the Lunar Rover Vehicle used on the moon.

1 comment:

Frank said...

Finally some good news about GM, after all the bad news about how GM almost ditched SAAB. Hopefully Spyker will be a better owner of this iconic car brand with its unique aerospace heritage...