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Zurich – The Zurich technology group ABB is entering into a partnership with the Japanese company Kawasaki Heavy Industries to pursue a joint strategy on collaborative robots, or ‘cobots’.

ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries are already two of the leading companies in the area of collaborative robot automation technology or ‘cobots’, an emerging field characterized by collaboration between people and robots. ABB developed the world’s first truly collaborative robot with its YuMi dual arm robot. Kawasaki’s innovative duAro also made headlines with its ability to safely collaborate with humans in the workplace. 

The two companies announced on Monday that they are now joining forces to share knowledge and promote the benefits of such types of cobots, especially those with dual arm designs. 

The partnership is not simply about building robots. The two companies also want to educate policy makers, NGOs and the general public about the benefits of collaborative automation and the role cobots will play in the workplace in the future.

“Beyond the technologies behind collaborative automation, there is also a need for innovative new ways of working together and creating common industry approaches to safety, programming and communications,” said Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director of ABB’s Robotics business.

Yasuhiko Hashimoto, Managing Executive Officer and General Manager, Kawasaki Robot Division, added that collaborative robots will play an important role in helping society cope with labour shortages and an ageing workforce.

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