KUKA CEO: Will work with Midea to develop personal assistant robots

KUKA CEO: Will work with Midea to develop personal assistant robots

Orange produced by KUKAmechanicalarm

AsiaIndustrial NetNews: According to the “Financial Times” Beijing time on June 19, Germany’s largestindustryrobotManufacturer KUKA Group has an ambitious plan to enter the personal assistant Robot market with the help of Midea Group. Midea bought KUKA last year for 4.5 billion euros.

Till Reuter has been the CEO of KUKA since 2009. Reuter said he sees the potential to use Midea’s expertise in the consumer space to develop Robots that help with household chores.

“Midea does not engage in any robotics orautomationbusiness, so KUKA is Midea’s automation business,” he said, “At the same time, they are good at the consumer industry. Therefore, we wanted to join forces to develop consumer robots. “

KUKA is best known for its orange Robotic arms, which are used to make cars for Tesla Inc and Porsche. Kuka has never produced a humanoid robot like SoftBank’s Pepper. Pepper is a companion robot for everyday life and is also used as an assistant in mobile phone stores in Japan.

However, Reuter said the consumer sector is growing “much faster” than the industrial sector. He hopes that Midea can integrate “German DNA” to develop domestic robots. Midea makes everything from bladeless fans to air conditioners.

KUKA’s main rivals in the field of industrial robots are Japan’s Fanuc and Switzerland’s ABB. Just over 250,000 industrial robots were sold in 2015, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), as companies invest in automation. But the consumer industry is likely to be even bigger. Last year, shipments of consumer robots reached 10 million units, according to market intelligence firm Tractica. The consumer robotics market will grow to $13.2 billion in 2022, up from $3.8 billion last year, as robots evolve from market gimmicks to devices with “nearly limitless possibilities.”

Reuter did not disclose what types of robots might be jointly developed with Midea, but in recent years, Kuka has been expanding its product line to produce smaller, mobile collaborative robots. “We go in one direction to the consumer market, Midea goes in the other direction, and then we meet in the middle,” he said.

In addition, he said, KUKA is focusing on integrating software and hardware to make its robots smarter and ready to handle a wider range of tasks. “The hardware has to be smaller and smarter,” Reuter said. “I think hardware-software integration is clearly the way forward for KUKA.”

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Published on 03/28/2023