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Conference Paper

When is a robot a cobot? Moving beyond manufacturing and arm-based cobot manipulators

PUBLICATION AUTHOR/S: Guertler, M., Tomidei, L., Sick, N., Carmichael, M., Paul, G., Wambsganss, A., Hernandez Moreno, V., Hussain, S

Collaborative robots (“cobots”) have attracted growing attention in academia and industry over the last years. Due to in-built safety features and easy programming, they allow for close human-cobot collaboration and support e.g. flexible manufacturing. However, the lack of a common understanding what a cobot is along with its traditional focus on arm-based cobots complicates further research and industry adoption. Thus, this paper analyses the variety of definitions in literature incl. standards and practice examples to derive a consistent and holistic definition and taxonomy of what a collaborative robot is. Aside from contributing a structured overview of various forms of human-robot collaboration, this builds an important foundation for future research as it systematically differentiates different cobot types. Companies and other organisations will benefit by a better understanding of what type of cobot they need and how to ensure safe collaboration.

Designing Socio-technical Robotic Systems
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