Ford’s delivery robot makes life easier for workers in Valencia
Ford has introduced a self-driving parts delivery robot at the company’s assembly plant in Valencia, Spain. It has been nicknamed ‘Survival’ because of its ability to adapt to its surroundings.
It has been developed by Ford’s engineers and runs around with spare parts in Ford’s assembly plant – a task that often requires the robot to redesign its planned delivery route when, for example, it has to steer clear of people. The company says Survival frees up to 40 working hours a day for Ford’s employees, who can focus on more complex tasks.
“We have equipped Survival with sensors and programmed it so that it knows the entire assembly plant’s floor plan. In addition, Survival does not actually use additional navigation technology,” explains Eduardo García Magraner, chief engineer at Ford’s assembly plant in Valencia, where the robot is currently being tested.
“When we had just started the robot, our colleagues thought they were in some sci-fi movie. They stopped and glared at it as it rolled over. Now the employees have become so accustomed to Survival that they just continue their daily workflow, as it is wise enough to control them and other objects themselves. ”
Ford’s self-propelled robot supplies spare parts and welding materials to the assembly plant’s various departments, which are an important part of the production of Ford Kuga, Ford Mondeo and Ford S-MAX.
“We have been testing it for almost a year now and it has worked completely flawlessly. Survival has become a valuable colleague, ”says García Magraner. “Hopefully we can put it on full time soon and introduce similar robots in several of our Ford factories.”
Survival uses Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to visualise its environment – a technology also used in Ford’s self-propelled cars.