Good Work Charter of the European Robotics Industry
Preamble Why this charter? Getting the facts straight Robotics and automation technology give The public debate to date has largely focu- us countless opportunities for enabling sed on robotics and automation leading to good work and great job satisfaction on job losses, although this has not material- all levels. At the same time, the pace of ized. Experience over the last two decades change – driven by digitalization, globa- - as well as current research - suggests lization, ageing societies, and new busi- that fears of massive unemployment ness models – is increasing. To secure the caused by automation are unfounded. In benefits of these inspiring technologies, we fact, for decades, automation and robotics need to actively manage the transition. The have had significant positive impact on future of work is now. jobs. The current new wave of automation and its technologies, such as human-robot Change is inevitable and an opportunity if collaboration, assistance systems, wea- actively shaped – without delay. To do this, rables and AI, will accelerate this journey the European robotics industry has devel- towards an improved quality of work. The oped this Good Work Charter. It identifies main challenge is to manage this transition 10 major focus areas that need to be ad- well as some jobs change, some jobs are dressed. This will require a joint effort and lost, and others are newly created. should be seen as work in progress. With the Charter, the European robotics industry The question is, how we can ensure wor- promotes and shapes the good work of the kers acquire the skills needed on the labour future and engages in an open dialogue market. We need to develop strategies for with all stakeholders. It applies to manufac- reskilling people to help them adapt to a ra- turers and developers of robotic systems pidly changing work environment. Life-long as well as their users, i.e. the entire robotics learning must become the new normal. community. It applies to robots used inside factories (industrial robots) and outside The European robotics sector will support factories (professional service robots). In robotics projects in schools, inspiring addition, it seeks to open a discussion with young people to focus on STEM subjects. EU institutions, government authorities, We also understand that making robotics schools and the education system, trade and automation technologies easy to use unions, international organizations, think and more accessible to workers will play an tanks, research institutes, and the financial important role in facilitating the transition sector. Special attention is given to young process. Lastly, we see the increased use people making educational and career of robotics as key for prosperity and high choices. living standards. 2
Content 2 Preamble 4 10 Focus Areas to Shape the Future of Work 6 Executive Summary 10 Focus 1: Working like Humans, Not like Machines 12 Focus 2: Humans in Command! 14 Focus 3: Development of Skills 17 New Collar Workers: Let’s make the digital era an inclusive era! 18 Focus 4: Inspire Young People for STEM 20 Focus 5: Inclusion and Participation 22 Focus 6: Creating Opportunities 24 Focus 7: Human-Robot Collaboration and Fusion Skills 26 Focus 8: Ease of Use 28 Focus 9: Sustainability 32 Focus 10: Tackling Demographic Change 34 Outlook: Prosperity for Europeans 36 The Good Work Charter and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 38 Acknowledgments 39 Members of EUnited Robotics
10 Focus Areas to Shape the Future of Work 1 Working like Humans, 2 Humans in Command! 3 Development of Skills 4 Inspire Young People Not like Machines “The technical vision of an “We cannot predict the fu- for STEM “In our work environment attractive working world is ture, but we can prepare for “With my robot activities, robots perform tasks that only possible with actively a future that is increasingly I’ve gained firsthand coding pose a high risk of injury to engaged individuals at the unpredictable. Metaskills experience. It is great fun humans. With the robots, core. Only in this way can – the softer skills which to design and build a robot productivity has gone up human and robot become are inherently human – are with my team that performs and sick days have fallen. a team.” going to be key. Things tasks reliably and by itself Work at the hot smelting furnaces was especially hard: each worker had to shift several tons of alu- minium ingots per shift. Now we operate robots. They have not taken our jobs, but brought us great relief at work.“ like creativity, adaptabili- on a playing field. Physics, ty, empathy, collaborative math, computer science working and critical thinking and engineering all come will never be replaced by together in robotics – I like robots.” that a lot!” Janez Rupnik Jörg Hofmann Claire Gillespie Adriana LTH Castings, Slovenia President of IG Metall, Digital Technologies Skills 12 year-old junior high school Industrial Union of Manager at Skills student from Heidelberg, Metalworkers (Germany) and Development Scotland Germany IndustriALL Global Union 4
5 Inclusion and Participation „All technologies, and in particular those that are data-driven, have the potential to project past inequalities into the future. It is therefore essential that the principles of inclusion and equality are built into the design and deployment of workplace technologies from the beginning.” Anna Thomas Institute for the Future of Work (IFOW), UK 8 Ease of Use „When I had the opportunity to steer Lio (assistant robot) with the remote control on the mobile phone, I realized that this sort of intelligence is able to make everyday life easier for me. Used and developed carefully and wisely, that kind of techno- logy has the potential to be of great beneﬁt for future generations.” Philippe Amann Young ofﬁce worker with physical support needs 6 Creating Opportunities „In my work environment I could see what a decisive role automation and robots play for safeguarding the competitiveness of industry. I realized this early on: learn- ing how to program and operate robots has given my professional development a real boost.” Sascha Borm Eberspächer Exhaust Technology GmbH, Global Manufacturing Engineering, Robotic Process Development 9 Sustainability “Robotics and automa- tion has helped to make photovoltaic the lowest cost energy source for a CO2- free electricity production over the past years.” Dr. Jutta Trube Coordinator of ITRPV (International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic) 7 Human-Robot Collabora- tion and Fusion Skills “Today’s challenges must be met and overcome with innovations, particularly those that augment human capabilities and capaci- ty. Human and machine collaboration is more critical than ever for organizations seeking to lead their indus- tries.” Paul Daugherty Group Chief Executive – Technology and CTO of Accenture, author of „Human + Machine“ 10 Tackling Demographic Change “The retirement of the baby boomers and low birth rates will be affecting the labour force throughout Europe over the next 20 to 40 years. This unprecedented demographic change offers the opportunity to combine automation, job security, Good Work and pros- perity in the context of global competition and digitization.” Dr. Cornelius Markert Executive Director IGZA (Institute for the History and Future of Work), Germany
Executive Summary In this Good Work Charter, the European Focus 1: Working like Humans, robotics industry presents its vision of Not like Machines good work of the future and identifies Robots are very good for performing 10 focus areas where action is needed now. so-called “4D” jobs: tasks that are dull, The Charter applies to manufacturers and dirty, dangerous or delicate. By doing so, developers of robotic systems as well as they can relieve us of work that is not well their users, i.e. the entire robotics communi- suited for human nature. We need to further ty. It applies to robots used inside factories promote quality of and dignity in work - by (industrial robots) and outside factories (pro- making sure that people work like humans, fessional service robots). It seeks to open not like machines and by leaving the dull a dialogue with all stakeholders, including and low-interaction work to the robots, government authorities, European institu- which are able to do it 24/7. tions, the education system, trade unions, international organizations, think tanks, Focus 2: Humans in Command! research institutes and the financial sector. As robots and humans interact more closely, Robotics and automation technology provide the fundamental question is whether the countless opportunities for improving work. robot will serve the worker, or the worker will At the same time, digitalization, globalization, serve the robot. Very clearly, robots must as- ageing societies, and new business models sist humans, not the other way around. The bring rapid change to the world of work: a European robotics industry therefore advo- transition that needs to be actively shaped cates a “human-in-command approach” for and must put the human in the center. the design of good, safe workplaces. Experience over the last two decades - as Focus 3: Development of Skills well as current research – suggests that The pace of technological change has left fears of massive unemployment caused by automation are unfounded1. In fact, for de- cades, automation and robotics have had a us with a skills gap. We must ensure that workers will be able to upskill to perform higher quality tasks. Advanced automation significant positive impact on jobs. technology crucially depends on skilled human workers to operate it. Additional The current new wave of automation and efforts are needed for continuous skills its technologies - such as human-robot development – especially on-the-job. collaboration, assistance systems, weara- bles and AI - can accelerate this journey Focus 4: Inspire Young People for STEM towards an improved quality of work. The We need engineers to tackle the challenges main challenge is to manage the transition of the future, but not enough young people well – making sure that people are not left decide to go into STEM subjects (Science, behind – as some jobs change, some jobs Technology, Engineering, Maths). To change are lost, and others are newly created. this, the European robotics industry will step up initiatives promoting STEM subjects among young people. The robotics sector is in a unique position to do so, as the robot is an iconic, relatable and fascinating piece of technology - ideally suited to spark interest in technology – in both girls and boys alike. 6
Focus 5: Inclusion and Participation taking advantage of the complementary The increased use of robotics must lead to strengths of people and machines. In this inclusion, not exclusion. Companies have way, humans must augment machines and been successful at including workers in the machines must augment humans leading to development of production systems and vastly improved results. the improvement of working environments – drawing on their unique experience and Focus 8: Ease of Use creativity. Assistive robots (cobots) can help The robotics industry is working to further older workers to stay in their jobs longer by simplify the use of robots. This is demo- relieving them from strenuous tasks. Further cratizing robots making the technology examples include exoskeletons enabling accessible to all skill levels. We can lower paralyzed individuals to stand up from their the barriers for employees to start working wheelchair and walk again and the use of with robots by providing intuitive com- collaborative robots to ensure people with munication, operating and programming disabilities can work productively and side interfaces. by side with able-bodied workers. Focus 9: Sustainability Focus 6: Creating Opportunities The world’s population is growing rapidly As robots are getting easier to use and can – therefore it is necessary to use resources even be programmed intuitively, the tech- efficiently. Intelligently automated pro- nology becomes much more accessible. duction can make a decisive contribution A domain formerly reserved for a few highly to minimizing our consumption of energy skilled technical experts, now provides and natural resources – moving towards a opportunities for everybody to start deve- carbon-neutral economy. Flexible robotic loping their robotics skills and professional systems pave the way for producing goods perspectives. Thus, workers have more close to the customer. opportunities to take active roles and per- form more advanced tasks. What’s more, Focus 10: Tackling Demographic Change the new generation of robots provides nu- In most developed economies, low birth merous possibilities, especially for SMEs, rates and the impending retirement of baby to introduce new business models – also in boomers will lead to massive shortages the service sector. of labour in the next 10 to 20 years. This potentially limits GDP growth and there- Focus 7: Human-Robot fore future prosperity. Increasing the use of Collaboration and Fusion Skills robotics and automation can help solve the Humans team up and interact ever-more problem. closely with technology. This will funda- mentally reshape work, rather than elimi- nate it. Robotics, automation, assistance systems and artificial intelligence allow us to completely reimagine processes, 1 Researchers Gregory, Salomons and Zierahn looked at automation impact on jobs in Europe and found that while automation displaces jobs, “it has simul- taneously created new jobs through increased product demand, outweighing displacement effects and resulting in net employment growth.” Terry Gregory, Anna Solomons, Ulrich Zierahn, CESifo Working Paper 7247: Racing With or Against the Machine? Evidence from Europe, page 1, September 2018
Outlook: Prosperity for Europeans About EUnited Robotics Robots increase productivity and compe- EUnited Robotics is a sector of EUnited titiveness. In doing so, they strengthen the AISBL, the European Engineering Indus- manufacturing and service sectors: a solid tries Association, and the voice of the basis for a sound economy, high quality European robotics industry. Our members jobs and a prosperous and inclusive society. are robot manufacturers, component Growing GDP and labour productivity are suppliers, and system integrators creating prerequisites for rising incomes and a higher a network of industry leaders. We aim standard of living for society as a whole. to develop, advocate, and communicate The European robotics industry is there- topics of industrial relevance in order to fore guided by the goals described in this support and strengthen global competi- Charter to provide advanced technologies tiveness of the European robotics sector. for economic success, sustainable develop- Moreover, we strive to raise awareness of ment and favourable working conditions. robotics and related technologies among Join our journey to create a human- communicates industry‘s perspective on centric future of work - by endorsing our relevant EU policies and funding issues. media and the public. EUnited Robotics Charter - starting today! Contact us at: email@example.com It also serves as liaison between indus- try decision-makers and the European Commission. Robotics – a deﬁnition are sometimes referred to as “robots” (e.g. In today’s public debate, the term “robot” armed drones), EUnited Robotics classifies may mean anything from chatbots to driver- them not as robots but as weapons. By less cars. In contrast, EUnited Robotics contrast, disaster fighting robots, defusing applies a narrower definition. robots and demining robots are included in the category of professional service robots. For us, the term generally refers to physical (or “embodied”) devices that can be pro- It should be noted that the lines between grammed to perform a variety of tasks, with industrial and professional service robots some level of interaction with the environ- are getting increasingly blurred: Industrial ment, in an automated way. robots can be used in professional service robot applications and service robots can Industrial robots are made for use in indus- perform important tasks in factories (e.g. trial automation applications, such as spot professional cleaning systems and logistics welding in car factories or for picking and robots). placing workpieces. The term robotics and automation is defi- Service robots perform tasks predominant- ned more widely, including further automa- ly outside the scope of manufacturing ap- tion technologies, such as vision tech- plications. Service robots for personal use nology, assembly machines, automated are aimed at non-commercial tasks (e.g. ro- handling devices and the necessary sensor, botic vacuum cleaners for household use). control and information technology. Professional service robots are used for commercial tasks, such as delivery robots This Good Work Charter refers to the use in hospitals, milking robots, surgical robots of industrial robots, professional service ro- or fire-fighting robots. While remotely bots and related automation technologies. operated – or even autonomous - weapons 8
1 Working like Humans, Not like Machines 10 Robots are very good for performing so-called “4D” jobs: tasks that are dull, dirty, dangerous or delicate. By doing so, they relieve us of work that is not well-suited to human nature. The emergence of industrial robotics since the 1970s has already freed workers from carry- ing out many of the dull, repetitive and low-interaction jobs. But we can further promote quality of and dignity in work - by making sure that people work like humans, not like machines. By leaving the dull, dirty, dangerous and delicate work to the robots, which are able to do it 24/7. Regardless of the rapid advances in robotics and AI, people will not be outperformed by these technologies. Humans possess unique capabilities such as dexterity, flexibility, judgment, decision making, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence and problem solving. Jobs performed by humans should draw on these capabilities.
By contrast, robots should be used for tasks that require The European robotics industry will: no thought, little variation and high output, i.e. the neces- • Provide robotics solutions that relieve humans of dull, sary, but essentially dull, tasks. Robots are ideally suited dirty, dangerous or delicate tasks. to work in environments that are dirty, unsanitary or simply • Provide hybrid solutions, in which people predominantly unpleasant. When jobs are hazardous, robots are certainly take on “human tasks” and robots predominantly take the best choice (e.g. for the inspection of oil platforms or on “machine tasks”. defusing bombs). When job satisfaction and human dignity • Strive to develop technology that ensures the safety, in the workplace are values to be held high, robots are a quality and dignity in human work whilst bringing job major tool to do so. A tool to be deployed in a human-cen- satisfaction, human health and well-being to a new level. tric way. • Respect privacy of employees especially in the design and deployment of systems that gather data. Ideal work for humans Requiring dexterity High variance Ideal work for machines Requiring repeatability High output with great precision Requiring judgment/common sense Can be programmed/standardized High interaction Creativity is of use In clean and healthy environments Low interaction Results stay reliably within set parameters In both clean as well as dirty/ hazardous environments
2 Humans in Command! 12 As robots and humans interact more closely, the ques- tion is often raised whether the robot will serve the worker, or the worker will serve the robot. Very clearly, robots and related technologies must assist humans, not the other way around. The European robotics in- dustry therefore wholeheartedly advocates a “human- in-command” approach for the design of good, safe workplaces. To create automation systems in which the human worker is reduced to following a set of narrowly defined instruc- tions given by the robot would be a lost opportunity to make use of uniquely valuable human capabilities.
13 It is therefore the robot that needs to assist the worker, e.g. The European robotics industry will: by bearing heavy weights, adding precision or taking over • Follow a human-in-command approach when desig- auxiliary tasks. Assistance systems (with or without robots) ning robotics solutions in which the robots and humans can relieve workers from stress, take over unergonomic interact, ensuring that the robot acts as an assistant to tasks and increase the worker’s productivity while reducing the human worker. errors. Good assistance systems should be user-centric, • Take this approach into account when integrating other upgrade jobs and ideally empower the users to perform technologies into the robotic solution, especially digital higher-level tasks. assistance systems, augmented/mixed reality, and AI technology. • Defend this key principle in public discussions on ELSE2 issues 2 ELSE stands for ethical, legal and socio-economic factors.
3 Development of Skills We are living in times of ever faster transformation, yet already face a growing “skills gap“. As the pace of change accelerates, we must intensify skills develop- ment and manage the transition towards real lifelong learning. This is necessary to ensure that workers will upskill as well as reskill to perform higher quality tasks and to allow for the deployment of advanced automa- tion technology which relies on a dynamic workforce. Skills development may be the most crucial task ahead of us. As the pace of technological and organizational change is increasing, more agility in skills development and faster adaptation to new requirements is needed. Current research suggests that the number of jobs created and the number of jobs lost is in balance (or even positive), leading to a stable level of employment. This is the good news. 14
But even if net employment is stable or even positive, a related to developing and deploying new technologies, significant number of employees will be affected by the de- i.e. automation-, IT-/AI-, and robotics-related applica- ployment of advanced technology, redesigned processes, tions, may grow to 20 to 50 million globally by 2030 - automation of tasks and other disruptions. and that as many as 375 million workers globally will As the pace of change increases, training and learning new have to master fresh skills as their current jobs evolve skills must accelerate by the same measure. This necessity alongside the rise of automation, robotics, AI, and the stems from different sources: capable machines thereby enabled“. • More than ever, modern automation requires “humans • Some disruptions risk leaving workers behind while to stay in the loop“ and to interact more closely with at the same time there is a general scarcity of skilled technology (some experts predicting the emergence of labour. The only reasonable solution will be to provide „fusion skills“ described in Focus 7). Without the nec- opportunities for the employees to acquire new skills essary skilled labour force, the technology cannot live up to its full potential. A recent study3 by the McKinsey Global Institute concludes “that the total number of jobs that allow them to adapt to a changing environment and to further develop their qualifications, job security, and job satisfaction. 3 Industrial robotics – Insights into the sector’s future growth dynamics, McKinsey & Company, July 2019, page 27.
Therefore, a new “learning culture“ (especially on-the-job) must be developed enabling people to upskill to higher quality jobs. Increasing the number of training hours alone will not be enough: a mental shift is required by employees and emp- loyers alike embracing the opportunities of continuous skills development. E-learning and distance learning provide good additional options to assist learning in a flexible way. The robotics sector also recognizes its responsibility: by develo- ping technology that is easy to use and pleasant to work with and by developing training material, courses and facilities that truly empower workers, including those who believe they are too old or too far behind to learn completely new things. The European robotics industry will: • Foster robotics-related (re-)training and upskilling at a large scale by developing training materials and by offering a wide range of further training in academies operated by the robotics industry, including basic training in robot safety (“robot driver’s license”). • Make robotics more accessible by increasing its user- friendliness. • Explore new approaches for a closer collaboration between humans and robots, fusion skills and intuitive robot use through increased research and development. • Raise end user’s awareness of the current and future scope of skills shortages and provide assistance to counteract the growing skills gap. • Contribute to spreading a new learning culture that high- lights opportunities for workers and employees at all levels. 16
New Collar Workers: Let’s make the digital era an inclusive era! “The future of work is one of the most urgent questions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Some jobs will go away, new ones will be crea- ted, and all jobs will be forever changed by emerging technologies and the advancement of artificial intelligence and robotics. While IBM and others are creating 16 million more highly skilled jobs by 2024 globally, we are challenged to find workers with the right technology skills to fill them. Many of these jobs do not necessarily require a four-year degree. We must ensure workers have the right mix of in-demand professional and technical skill sets for these “New Collar” jobs. Those skills can be learned through 21st century vocational training, innovative pu- blic education programs like P-TECH, which IBM pioneered, coding camps, professional certification programs and apprenticeships. P- TECH currently has 150,000 students in its pipeline and is present in 24 countries, including Ireland, the UK, France, Czech Republic, Italy and Poland. Students graduate with a no-cost associate degree in applied science, engineering, computers or other competitive STEM disciplines, along with the skills and knowledge they need to continue their studies or step easily into high-growth, “New Collar” jobs.” Martin Jetter, Senior Vice President and Chairman IBM Europe
4 Inspire Young People for STEM Technology is key for tackling some of the biggest challen- ges humankind is facing. To provide for a rapidly growing population while preserving our planet’s health is the biggest job ahead of us in the decades to come. To do it, we need engineers and scientists to come up with new and ingenious solutions. Unfortunately, the world is experiencing a skills gap in the workforce. As automation and other advanced technologies are be- coming more and more engrained in our workplaces and daily lives, we are running out of people that are equipped with the much-needed STEM skills: knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. To put it bluntly: If we do not succeed in inspiring more young people – especially girls - to choose education and careers in STEM subjects, We need to ensure that there are sufﬁcient engineers to we will be in trouble. We need scientists and engineers to tackle the challenges of the future, but not enough young build the future and we need a workforce that is equipped people decide to go into STEM subjects (Science, Tech- with STEM capabilities to effectively use and apply advan- nology, Engineering, Maths). To change this, the Euro- ced technology. Such a workforce is also indispensable to pean robotics industry commits itself to step up initiatives ensure the competitiveness of the European economy and promoting STEM subjects among young people. The ro- safeguard Europe’s technological leadership. botics sector is in a unique position to do so, as the robot is an iconic, relatable and fascinating piece of technology The European robotics industry is therefore committed - ideally suited to spark interest in technology. to stepping up efforts in inspiring young people to go for 18 STEM subjects and careers. Engineers are aware that their profession is a deeply creative one as they “create“ every day. Young people, by contrast, are less aware that engi- neering could be on top of a list of attractive creative jobs,
and therefore dismiss (or overlook) STEM career paths for The European robotics industry will: themselves. This is where the robotics industry has a unique • Sponsor and coach robotics project groups in schools, opportunity: At its core is the robot - an iconic, fascinating including robotics challenges and collaborate with and universally applicable technology. It is technology we organisations promoting STEM education. can all relate to because of its “anthropomorphic“, or „hu- • Develop educational robots and robotics kits for man-resembling“ traits: the robot gripper is easily associa- schools. These educational robots should be attractive ted with a human hand, an articulated robot comes across for children and fun to play and experiment with. as something like a human arm. It is easy to see and un- • Exchange best practices for promoting STEM subjects derstand what a robot is doing. This puts the robotics indus- through robotics within the European Association EUnited. try in a special position when it comes to STEM initiatives. • Cooperate with other stakeholders and organizations It is the robotics industry that holds the very key to sparking active in the promotion of STEM education for young an interest in technology – in both girls and boys alike. This people (e.g. Roberta, First Lego League, Smart Green also comes with the responsibility of putting robots to work Island Makeathon). not only in factories but in schools and other places where • Organise events and offer internships for young people an interest in science and technology can be ignited. in robot companies/factories. Technology as a school subject est in technology. In addition to promoting robot projects in schools, the Eu- • Seek active dialogue with authorities of the education sys- ropean robotics industry strongly advocates the introduc- tem on regional, national, European and international level. • Collaborate with social media influencers to spark inter- tion of “Technology” as a school subject across Europe. Europe’s prosperity depends on a strong industrial core, digitalization will further accelerate technological progress, and global competition is increasing. Therefore, Technolo- gy should become a compulsory school subject.4 4 A recent study by the VDMA in Germany analysed the curricula of schools in the 16 federal states of Germany and concluded that in all 16 states “the vast majority of young people can complete their schooling without ever coming into contact with a proven technical education.” Technikunterricht in Deutschland, VDMA Bildung, September 2019.
5 Inclusion and Participation Robotics and automation has the potential to empower employees at all levels. Yet the OECD concludes that “training participation is lowest among those who need training the most, including the low-skilled, older adults”5. This is a lost opportunity and must be changed. But in- creasing inclusion and participation does not stop there. Companies have been successful in including workers in the development of production systems and the improve- ment of work environments6. The people that do the job and work with automation tools often give the most valua- ble input – when asked! 5 The Future of Work, OECD Employment Outlook 2019, page 20. 6 For example, at its plant in Regensburg , the BMW Group has set up a so-called Innolab, where the employees contribute their ideas for process improve- ment and have them developed together with the experts on site. Source: “Wie BMW Industrie 4.0 mit den Mitarbeitern entwickelt“, Produktion, 28 May 2019. 20
Assistive robots (cobots) can enable older workers to stay The European robotics industry will: in their jobs longer. With a demographic shift threatening to • Promote inclusion by providing training for empowering hit many developed economies (see also: Focus 10 - employees at all levels to operate, program or collabo- Tackling Demographic Change), it is imperative to keep the rate with robots. workforce active and healthy in ergonomically favourable • Place emphasis on developing user-centric automation environments. Collaborative robotics can make a substan- systems, ideally involving users in their development tial contribution to this end. Exoskeletons such as ReWalk and/or deployment. are allowing paralyzed individuals to stand up from their wheelchairs and walk again. The project AQUIAS7 explo- res the use of collaborative robots to ensure people with • Provide automation solutions, especially collaborative/ assistive robotics, to enable workers to stay healthy and perform challenging tasks, safely, also at a higher age. disabilities can work productively and side by side with • Develop robotics technology for use in rehabilitation, able-bodied workers. When it comes to inclusion, robotics enabling people to overcome the effects of physical has more to offer than is immediately apparent! disabilities. 7 www.aquias.de
6 Creating Opportunities 22 The introduction of robots and automation technolo- gies can offer great opportunities for employees at all levels. As robots are getting easier to use and can even be programmed intuitively, the technology becomes much more accessible. Workers who embrace the technology and develop their robotics skills improve their professional perspectives. In addition to robots, other related technologies also enable workers to move on to perform more highly qualiﬁed tasks. The concepts of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) and the Industrial Inter- net of Things (IIoT) define the smart factory of the future, in which all machines and automation devices are inter- connected and directly communicate with each other. At the same time, the proponents of this new manufacturing paradigm postulate that people will be at the core of this new digital world. This raises several questions: How can “analog people” play a central part in such a “digital en- vironment”? How are the roles of humans and machines distributed? What interfaces are there connecting humans to their digital surroundings in the smart factory?
The answer lies in new technologies that hold the promise They can use these tools to maintain high productivity to upgrade human work: and quality levels, to perform troubleshooting tasks and to optimize processes. • Digital assistance systems combine the best of both worlds. Human dexterity, adaptiveness and judgment What’s more, the new generation of robots provides nu- are combined with automated quality assurance and merous possibilities also for companies to increase their guidance. This approach also qualifies manual assembly flexibility and create new business models. Especially small to achieve true zero-defect quality for the first time. and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can seize new oppor- • Intuitive interaction with machines replaces complicated tunities – in manufacturing as well as in the service sector. operating instructions and advanced programming skills. • Virtual, mixed and augmented reality, based on tablets The European robotics industry will: and data glasses, enable workers to perform complex • Develop automation systems and human-machine and highly qualified maintenance tasks. interfaces which promote workers having active roles • Humans and robots collaborate directly and safely, and which upgrade lower-skilled employees to perform without protective barriers (see Focus 7). higher-skilled tasks. • Wearables such as data gloves and smart wristbands assist workers and link them with the digital systems on the shop floor. • Gamification uses the strategy of playfulness and com- puter games to engage workers in complex problem solving and optimization tasks. • Handhelds are becoming universal communication, control and learning tools for workers on the shop floor.
7 Human-Robot Collaboration and Fusion Skills fast movements. The approach is a simple and effective one: the world of the robot and the world of the worker are kept apart. But robotics has now opened a new chapter: robots that work directly together with the worker in a shared workplace are now being installed. The robot be- comes a “cobot” – a robotic co-worker or assistant (see illustration). New safety technology makes this direct hu- man-robot collaboration (HRC) possible – without the need for safety fences. Sophisticated sensors give the robot the senses and perception it needs to act safely. By definition, the cobot does not replace, but complement, the human worker. But why is it beneficial to combine robots and people so closely? Because certain human abilities Today’s technology is closer to us than ever before al- are – and will remain – irreplaceable, e.g. fine motor skills, lowing us to do new things in new ways. It has become dexterity, flexibility and judgment, while robots have other an essential part of our everyday life. Our interaction strengths. They can make sure that the contact pressure with our smart devices has become second nature. remains constant when a rubber seal is being adhered, or This has not only fundamentally changed the way we they can hold heavy loads. HRC allows people and robots live, it is also reshaping the way we work. Some ex- to work directly together and each to exploit their own perts even predict that this new closeness of humans strengths, resulting in a significant potential for optimizing and machines will give rise to a completely new class production processes. At the same time, workplaces be- of „fusion skills“. come more ergonomic. With their lightning-fast movements, robots are extremely But human-robot collaboration may just be the prelude to a efficient. Traditionally, they work behind protective barriers, more symbiotic partnership of people and machines in the keeping the people in the factory safe from the steel arms’ future. Robotics, automation and artificial intelligence allow 24
us to completely reimagine processes taking advantage of the complementary strengths of people and machines. In this way, humans augment machines and machines aug- ment humans with vastly improved results. In their ground- breaking work, Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson8 describe eight “fusion skills”9 that will be essential for creating successful work environments and organizations in the future: skills that draw on the fusion of human and machine talents within a business process to create better outcomes than working independently. The European robotics industry will: • Invest in research and product development promoting closer collaboration between humans and technology, including human-robot collaboration, assistance sys- tems, interface design, artificial intelligence and redesig- ning processes based on the concept of fusion skills. Cell Coexistence Synchronized Cooperation Collaboration An illustration of increasing levels of cooperation between human and robot from left (no cooperation) to right (full collaboration). Source: Fraunhofer IAO 8 Human + Machine – Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson, Harvard Business Press, 2018 9 These fusion skills are: rehumanizing time, responsible normalizing, judgment integration, intelligent interrogation, bot-based empowerment, holistic melding, reciprocal apprenticing and relentless reimagining.
8 Ease of Use 26 Robots have already become much easier to install, program and operate. The robotics industry is working to further simplify the use of robots. This is democratizing robotics: it is no longer only a domain for a select group of highly trained specialists and engineers. A trend which will accelerate in the years to come. Focus 3 (Development of Skills) aims at qualifying people to use robots. Focus 8 (Ease of use) turns this approach around by qualifying the robots to be used by people with little or no formal training. There is no contradiction bet- ween these two approaches: both are necessary and com- plement each other. But how can robots become simple to use? Here are some examples: • Take the robot by the hand: Rather than writing long lists of computer code to tell the robot how it should move, the worker presses a button at the robot arm, moves
the robot arm along the desired trajectory and releases on a display. A smiley face indicates that all processes the button. In so doing, the robot is programmed to per- are running smoothly, a neutral face indicates a possible form a precise movement without the need to write any slow down and a sad face warns of a problem. It is quite computer code. (Incidentally, this is quite comparable conceivable that workers will soon use voice commands to a ballet class, in which the dance instructor gently and gestures to communicate with robots also in a fac- moves the dancer’s arm and body to demonstrate how tory environment. Humans will certainly communicate in the movement should be performed). this way with professional service robots. • Drag and drop instead of code: Interfaces on touch screens that look similar to what we know from our The European robotics industry will: smartphones tear down barriers to programming robots. • Further “democratize” robotics by making them easier Instead of writing code, predefined modules can be to use, making robotics a tool that is accessible to all dragged and dropped into place to tell the robot what to skill levels. do and in what sequence. • Lower the barriers for workers and employees to start • Social robotics, voice and gesture control: A more working with robots for the first time by providing intuitive intuitive communication between the robot and the em- communication, operating and programming interfaces. ployee makes the use of robots more natural. Some ro- bots indicate their operating state with symbolized faces
9 Sustainability 28 The world’s population is growing rapidly – therefore it is necessary to use resources efﬁciently. Intelligently automated production can make a decisive contribu- tion to minimizing our consumption of energy and na- tural resources – moving to a carbon-neutral economy. In addition, automation can contribute to healthy and ergonomic workplaces with a high job satisfaction – by taking over the dull, dirty, dangerous or delicate tasks that need to be done (see also Focus 1, page 10). For years, robotics has been increasing sustainability in many ways. The technology is having a major impact in making environmentally friendly products affordable. The economic viability of photovoltaics, for example, is largely due to cutting production costs through high automation levels. Robotics and automation also lead to more re- source efficiency in the production process itself, e.g. by
Robots help produce rotor blades for wind turbines avoiding scrap or optimizing processes. This is especially Contributions of robotics and automation to sustainability true in food and beverage production where the yield can are by no means limited to cutting unit costs for high- be substantially increased through automation. The combi- volume products. The technology also has a substantial nation with AI (e.g. for deep learning-based predictive maintenance) will lead to further efficiency gains10. The robotics industry strives to further reduce the energy impact when used in concert with human capabilities, as we have seen: by preventing health risks for employees, by taking over boring and repetitive tasks, by upgrading consumption of robots, by using energy efficient drives, and augmenting human work (e.g. by enabling manual smart stand-by modes and software to intelligently man- assembly tasks to attain “zero defect” levels). Sustainability age robot movements (e.g. by slowing the movement down whenever a faster movement is not needed)11. Flexible and easy-to-use robotic systems facilitate the competitive production of smaller batch sizes and of pro- ducts customized to the local customer base. This paves the way for producing goods close to the customer thus reducing long-distance transport. Such local production has a substantially lower carbon footprint. is multifaceted - covering economic, ecological and social aspects. And so is the potential of robotics and automation. 10 One of the most promising applications of AI is for the improvement of OEE – the Overall Equipment Effectiveness – by monitoring equipment conditions across entire plants and predicting maintenance needs. 11 An early example of this work is the VDMA Specification „Energy performance for industrial robots“ published in 2013: https://www.beuth.de/en/technical-rule/vdma-24608/197844344
The European robotics industry will: • Continue to provide technology for producing goods sustainably (e.g. manufacturing with a low carbon footprint). • Continue to provide technology for producing sustaina- ble goods (e.g. making affordable solar panels). • Provide solutions for competitive production close to the customer (eliminating long-distance shipping). • Help improve work conditions, job satisfaction and health at the workplace. A fundamental reshaping of ﬁnance in the making Blackrock CEO Larry Fink’s open letter12 to CEOs around the globe in January 2020 drove home an important point: Indeed, robotics and automation technology will be essential in contributing to Europe’s green and digital We are witnessing the beginning of a “fundamental re- transformation, which itself is a key enabler for reaching shaping of finance”. The need to address climate change the objectives of the European Green Deal. According to will put sustainability at the centre of investment decisions the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der in the future. Leyen, “digitalisation will enable us to handle resources more effectively and more efficiently, because we will be He argues: “We believe that all investors, along with able to calibrate everything precisely: water consumption, regulators, insurers, and the public, need a clearer picture energy, all the precious resources of our planet”. of how companies are managing sustainability-related questions. This data should extend beyond climate to Robotics and automation applications with the power questions around how each company serves its full set of to transform are being designed and invested in at an stakeholders, such as the diversity of its workforce, the accelerating rate. For example, in relation to green energy sustainability of its supply chain, or how well it protects its production, robotics and automation have been essential customers’ data. Each company’s prospects for growth for the production of large-scale photovoltaic panels. Ro- are inextricable from its ability to operate sustainably and botics and automation will be vital for Europe’s upcoming serve its full set of stakeholders.“ Circular Economy Action Plan (also part of the Green Deal) Robotics and the European Green Deal13 for example, revolutionising recycling through deployment The European Green Deal - Europe’s vision to make Europe of robotics and vision technology to separate commingled and will help to achieve the sustainable products policy by, climate neutral by 2050 - will also integrate sustainable development goals14 (or SDGs). recyclables from one another. 12 www.blackrock.com/ch/individual/en/larry-fink-ceo-letter 13 https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/european-green-deal-communication_en.pdf 14 See The Good Work Charter and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on page 36. 30
10 Tackling Demographic Change 32 Due to demographic shifts, most developed economies are facing massive shortages of labour in the next de- cades. This will potentially limit GDP growth and there- fore future prosperity. Over the next 20 years, the labour force in Germany alone is projected to shrink by about 10 million people15 - a result of the retirement of baby boom- ers and low birth rates. Increasing the use of robotics and automation can help solve the problem.
An exoskeleton makes lifting heavy weights easier Many experts see human-robot-collaboration, in particular, time and again, increasing robot densities have not led per as a key solution to demographic shifts, reducing the strain se to lower levels of employment. Therefore, a combination on workers with physically demanding tasks, such as over- of measures – such as more automation, reskilling, attracting head assembly. Help from robots keeps these workers healt- qualified workforce from abroad, increased participation of hy, so they can continue working all the way through to reti- women in the workforce or raising retirement age – may be rement. Moreover, the first exoskeletons are currently being needed. introduced in factories to relieve workers when lifting heavy weights, reducing strain on the lower back – an approach The European robotics industry will: that may prove especially valuable for older workers. While • Develop highly ergonomic robotics and automation solutions robotics and automation can make a valuable contribution that can assist older workers in reducing work-related strain to counteracting problematic demographic shifts, it will not and health risks and extend their working lives. be able to solve the problem on its own. As we have seen 15 Marc Amlinger, Christian Kellermann, Cornelius Markert, Horst Neumann, Deutschland 2040: 10 Thesen zu Arbeitsmarkt und Rente, Demografie und Digitalisierung
Outlook: Prosperity for Europeans Robots increase productivity and com- Robotics provides great opportunities to petitiveness. In doing so, they strengthen raise the standard of living for society as a the manufacturing and service sectors: a whole and hence the potential to reduce in- solid basis for a sound economy, high-qua- equality. The European robotics industry is lity jobs and a prosperous and inclusive guided by the objective of providing advan- society. One of the most instructive studies ced technologies for economic success, quantifying this positive effect is “Robots sustainable development and favourable at Work” by the Centre for Economic Per- working conditions. formance at the London School of Econo- mics16. In this study, Guy Michaels and Georg Graetz conclude that robot densifi- cation between 1993 and 2007 across 17 countries studied accounted for 10% of Join our journey to create a human-cen- tric future of work. GDP growth. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org But there are further positive effects that come with increased automation levels: Re- sources are used more sustainably. Easy- to-use robots empower people to do jobs that were previously reserved for technical specialists. New types of robots, e.g. in the service sector, will help us tackle some of the most urgent societal challenges, such as demographic shifts. 16 Graetz, Georg, and Guy Michaels. 2015. Robots Work. Centre for Economic Performance 34
“Europe sits at the juncture of two major forces shaping the future of work, the new challenges that COVID-19 has presented for all of us, im- pacting service industries and social interaction, and the transition to an increasingly automated and data driven economy, which has itself been accelerating since the lockdowns. Both require changes in work arrangements that need to be worked out by employers, their workers and government. The adoption of new technologies provides opportunities to enhance productivity and boost incomes, delivering a prosperous future for all Europeans, but it also requires careful management of the transition. Employers can help by ensuring that their workers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in the new economy, whilst governments act to protect the livelihoods of those who are hit the hardest.” Sir Christopher Pissarides Regius Professor of Economics, London School of Economics Co-Chair, Institute for the Future of Work (IFOW), UK 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics
The Good Work Charter and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides (lowering the production costs of renewable energy a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people technologies to make them economically viable/ and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are competitive, such as photovoltaics or wind turbines) the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that (shaping good work of the future, e.g. through collaborative ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand in robotics or robots taking over dirty, dull, dangerous or hand with strategies that improve health and education, delicate (“4D”) tasks) reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our SCG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure oceans and forests. (innovating industrial production and raising its competitiveness) The Good Work Charter of the European robotics industry recognises the strong connection of its own vision with SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production many of the SDGs. Robotics use is well-suited to make (energy-efficient production, resource-efficient production) substantial contributions especially to the following sustainable development goals: SDG 13: Climate Action SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being mobility and competitively priced renewable energy) (clean, safe and ergonomic workplaces, surgical and medical robots, robots in eldercare, rehabilitation robots) SDG 14: Life below Water (production technology for affordable carbon-neutral (unmanned/autonomous underwater robots for monitoring SDG 4: Quality Education and research, inspection of oil platforms) (robots as a tool for STEM education and skills development) SDG 15: Life on Land (agricultural robots, precision farming, crop protection SDG 5: Gender Equality without pesticides) (placing emphasis on the inclusion of girls in robotics projects/contests in schools, robots taking over heavy lifting) 36