Mercedes-Benz Partners with Apptronik

Mercedes-Benz Partners with Apptronik

Mercedes-Benz Partners with Apptronik

Their Apollo humanoid robot will automate manual labor tasks, while Mercedes-Benz sees it as a pilot program to assess its impact.

The Austin-based AI developer Apptronik has formed a partnership with the German automaker Mercedes-Benz to integrate artificial intelligence into its factory robotics, the companies announced on Friday.

This agreement with Mercedes-Benz marks Apptronik’s inaugural commercial contract involving the automotive sector and the practical application of its Apollo robotics. The company was founded in 2016 as a spin-off of the University of Texas at Austin’s Human-Centered Robotics Lab.

“An agreement with Mercedes-Benz similar to the one we’re announcing today was a fantasy come true when we set out to build Apollo,” Apollo co-founder and CEO Jeff Cardenas said in a statement.

Apollo is classified as a humanoid due to its dimensions: it is nearly six feet tall, weighs 160 pounds, and can elevate 55 pounds. The robot’s battery life is four hours, and it can be either stationary or equipped with legs to enable locomotion.

The cranium and chest LEDs of Apollo will allow the robot to convey information regarding its status, including charging and data processing.

Cardenas explained that Mercedes-Benz will automate “physically demanding, repetitive, low-skilled manual labor” with the Apollo robot, citing it as a model use case that other companies will attempt to replicate in the future years and months.

By deploying humanoid robots in manufacturing facilities, corporations such as Mercedes-Benz can operate robots in human-designed environments without undertaking space redesign.

Whether in trades or knowledge-based industries, policymakers and ethicists are concerned that the nascent technology will displace workers as AI begins to infiltrate and disrupt various sectors. Despite the preservation of employment, AI could potentially tempt employers to reduce their investment in human resources.

Mercedes-Benz’s Exploration of Robotics in Manufacturing

Mercedez-Benz, on the other hand, represents the Apptronik partnership as a pilot program to evaluate its potential impact.

“We are investigating new opportunities through the use of robotics to assist our skilled personnel in manufacturing,” Jorg Burzer, a board member of Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement.

“This is uncharted territory, and we are eager to comprehend the possibilities for automotive manufacturing and robotics.”

The persistent apprehension regarding replacing humans in the workplace with machines stems from the rapid integration of artificial intelligence technology into the commonplace.

“A great deal of the current effort—which is why people are investing in these companies like Figure—is to ensure that these products are compatible and functional,” said Ken Goldberg, a professor of industrial engineering at UC Berkeley.

Although considerable attention has been directed towards generative AI models such as Anthropic’s Claude AI and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, humanoid machines propelled by AI are swiftly gaining prominence.

While some may question the viability of constructing humanoid robots, Goldberg stated that various factors will determine their viability. One instance? Wheels as opposed to legs.

“Indoor wheels can be an inconvenience. Most residences have stairs and carpets, which is where wheels fall short,” Goldberg explained. “Moreover, these legs may prove beneficial in such a context, and I believe something significant will occur within the next decade.”

Numerous corporations—including Hanson Robotics, Tesla, and 1X, which OpenAI and Honda sponsor—continue to develop mass-produced robots designed for use in hazardous environments such as space and other planets.

Figure AI, headquartered in Silicon Valley, introduced its Figure 01 robot on Wednesday. Equipped with OpenAI’s technology, the robot can conduct conversations autonomously, identify food, and clean the area concurrently.

Read Previous

Kris Marszalek’s Long-Term View on Crypto

Read Next

Mozaic Finance loses $2.4M Due to Private key Breach