Kuka: world’s first robot capable of working safely with humans on delicate tasks


Robot engineering company Kuka has designed the world’s first robot capable of working safely with humans on delicate tasks. For the superyacht industry, this new development could potentially lead to the redefinition of certain crew roles onboard and even affect demand for human crew members.

Picture the scene – it’s 4am and your guests are still partying hard. It’s an unwritten rule that you never say no to guest requests, but some of the stews are flagging. Would it not improve guest experience if certain human crew members could sleep whilst the robot crew took over serving the food and drink? Even with a team of extra perky stewards and stewardesses, the assistance of robots could still mean tasks get fulfilled just that little bit quicker, meaning even happier guests.

This would certainly change the role of chief stew, who would not only need to understand how to manage people but also have a basic understanding of how to keep the robots doing what they should. This may also mean a need for more ETOs to support these cyber-stews.

Kuka has designed its robotic arms to move gracefully, replicating human movement and using motion capture to sense the location of people and objects. This ensures that they avoid collisions. Thanks to its joint torque sensors, the new LBR iiwa robot can detect contact immediately and reduces its level of force and speed instantly.

What’s more, it is easy to teach. Users can choose from three operating modes and program it via simulation; from the operator indicating the desired position, it can remember the coordinates of the path point. The collaborative and sensitive LBR iiwa robot is available in two versions with payload capacities of 7 and 14 kilograms. It has a reach of 800-820mm.

So are cyber-stews the future of superyachts service? Certainly as the technology improves we will start to see these robots helping out in more and more leisure settings. Your yacht may well be one of them.

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