Research Update: Survey on Human-Robot Collaboration
The IfADo researchers conducted a focus group survey to find out what workers’ concerns are when collaborating with a mobile robot colleague. The focus was on smooth, understandable collaboration and risky situations that can arise in human-robot collaboration. The survey also aimed to identify the causes of potential risks. The participants not only mentioned possible problems with the robot, but also possible solutions.The most important thing for the participants in the human-robot collaboration was that the robot should make the work easier. This means reducing the physical and, more importantly, the cognitive load on workers in complex and potentially hazardous work situations by improving work ergonomics. This can lead to increased work speed and reduced errors.The results of the focus group suggest that robot malfunctions in particular can lead to stressful situations. In addition, the results show that collision avoidance measures should be taken, such as restricting the robot to a predefined area and using laser scanning systems to assess the environment and detect objects and people. Adaptive visual or acoustic signals could be used to improve cooperation between the worker and the robot. In this way, the robot can communicate its current state and report malfunctions, making its behaviour more transparent to the worker.The training of workers was seen by the participants as essential for a reliable and safe robot. The participants saw the need for a general introduction to the basic functions of the robot, but also for specific training on how to work efficiently with the robot. This should include training in emergency situations as a basic prerequisite for human-robot cooperation.