Seat Installs Autonomous Cargo Carts at Plant

While autonomous vehicles on public roads remain a distant dream, Spanish automaker Seat has kept the technology’s flag flying with AV cargo carts at its Barcelona plant.

It has introduced new autonomous robots (AMRs), also known as EffiBOTs, to work collaboratively with its staff at the Martorell factory. In a bid to reduce the amount of walking required by staff to perform jobs, the robotic workforce helps with tasks such as transporting components around the 2.8M square meter facility.

By introducing the robots, the brand will adapt its production processes and manage resources and communication between the different areas of the facility more efficiently. The EffiBOT is a robot developed by French company Effidence and claims the ability to process constant 360-degree readings, can follow the human worker who tapped its touchscreen as they move around the factory and are able to navigate around people or objects in their way. It can transport all kinds of materials needed for car assembly, carrying up to 250kgs (550lbs) and pulling as much as 500kgs (1,100lbs).

The company has introduced two EffiBOTs in an experimental phase and could expand the number of these robots in the future. Unlike existing automated guided vehicles, which require a track to function properly, EffiBOTs can recognize their surroundings to map their route to a defined destination and avoid obstacles along the way.

Vice-president for production and logistics for Seat, Herbert Steiner, said: “Autonomous mobile robots place us at the forefront of innovation in the automotive sector. They’re also a clear example of how robots can collaborate with employees to make their work easier. Their incorporation contributes to driving Industry 4.0 and making us more efficient, flexible, agile and competitive.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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