As of today, more than 10% of warehouses make uses of automated machinery to maintain and manipulate stock. Recent developments in automation technology have increased productivity for robots exponentially. However, these developments were made without proper testing of the impact automated machinery has on human workers creating a possibly false understanding of the necessary restraints. In response, a human-in-the-loop experiment was facilitated to simulate a smart warehouse setting where human and robot work in tandem. During the experiment the human completes a series of tasks including picking and assembly, transferring between two stations. This experiment tests three modes of human robot interaction: no robot, an empty robot, and a full payload robot. The robot simulates typical warehouse procedures with autonomous path planning and collision avoidance technology. The study takes each path the robot makes and records it in reference to the action of the participant, and notes the types and occurrence rates of direct interaction for each mode of interaction. Eight participants were recorded and analyzed by two individual researchers to present an accurate representation of the effects of automated technology on a human worker. Results from this pilot study can be used as design guidance for future collaborative robots.
Click the video below to view the student's poster pitch.