New York, February 5 -- NASA and General Motors have made a giant leap in the field of robotonics. The two organizations announced plans to develop and build humanoid robots that can work with humans.
“This cutting-edge robotics technology holds great promise, not only for NASA, but also for the nation,” said Doug Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate on Wednesday.
“I'm very excited about the new opportunities for human and robotic exploration these versatile robots provide across a wide range of applications,” he further said.
NASA said that it is essential to have robots which can help astronauts during dangerous missions, while for GM the robots will help in building cars and automotive plants.
About Robonaut 2
NASA, which has always encouraged robots use in space, will be producing its second Robonaut.
NASA and GM will call the new robot ‘Robonaut 2.’ The two companies will be working with engineers from Oceaneering Space Systems of Houston to create the robot.
The original Robonaut, built ten years back, was a humanoid machine designed for space travel. It was built at the Johnson Space Center, with engineers from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) working as well.
“Working side by side with humans, or going where the risks are too great for people, machines like Robonaut will expand our capability for construction and discovery,” said Mike Coats, Johnson Space Center’s director.
“Our challenge today is to build machines that can help humans work and explore in space. Working side-by-side with humans, or going where the risks are too great for people, machines like Robonaut will expand our capability for construction and discovery,” he added.
Robonaut 2 is a stronger and more skillful version of the original Robonaut. Nicknamed R2, it can lift 20 pounds with each arm.
NASA and GM’s second tie up
This is not the first time NASA and GM have collaborated. The two also partnered during the Apollo years.
“For GM, this is about safer cars and safer plants,” said Alan Taub, GM's vice president for global research and development. “When it comes to future vehicles, the advancements in controls, sensors and vision technology can be used to develop advanced vehicle safety systems."
“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,” Taub said further.