Could it be? Will that happen in the end? Humans are afraid that robots may take their jobs. Robots and artificial intelligence are growing into our everyday life. Will robots replace human work in the future? T-Robotics, a company specializing in automated robots, says no.
When you order coffee, a robot called Drip Bot, not a human, brews the coffee in an optimal way. It only takes 3 minutes for a cup and 5 minutes for 3 cups; much faster than humans. Above all, it can always achieve the same taste with an accurate drip algorithm that maintains water temperature and a certain interval and speed. This means that robots are more efficient than humans. While the robot is making coffee, the café staff serves customers or focuses on sophisticated tasks where humans have the upper hand. At BOTBOTBOT, a café that opened in Seongsu-dong, Seoul in 2019, this is the everyday scene that has become familiar.
Can robots do human work? In the end, will robots take over jobs? These days, when we face a robot that has permeated into our daily lives, we naturally ask these questions. The fascination has far passed; it is probably because we face the reality right before our eyes. No one can give an answer to this previous question. It can only be said that it is the future that we humans must lead in the right direction. In that sense, Cafe Bot Bot draws a space where robots and humans coexist peacefully.
BotBotBot, a cafe and cultural space introduced by T-ROBOTICS, a company specializing in automated robots, together with d’strict, a digital media content producer, stood at the starting line as an advance base preparing for the food tech industry using robots from the planning stage. In this cafe, there are three robots: Drink Bot, which manufactures beverages according to recipes directed by the bartender, Drip Bots that currently make coffee, and Dessert Bots which draws patterns entered on cakes. These 3 robots are ‘working’.
At this point, let’s change the question again. Can human life be enriched by robots performing simple tasks? The answer is yes. If robots take over tasks that are difficult or tedious to humans, it will be a natural result that not only will the quality of service be improved, but also our quality of life will be improved. Min Eun-Hong, IR team leader at T-Robotics, cited labor saving as the main advantage of food tech robots. “Actually, we are in the development stage right now, so the immediate savings are inadequate. However, if the functions of the robots currently being piloted in cafes are gradually improved, and a proper food tech system is in place, great effects can be expected in manpower operation.” We are not trying to come up with a story that number of human jobs will decrease. Although concerns cannot be ignored, our prediction is that, just as the laundry that was done by hand in the past was taken for granted to the washing machine without any special consciousness, just as a machine made this labor and our life became easier, the idea is to embrace a future where robots making coffee or mixing cocktails in a cafe no longer feel like something special.
As labor costs continue to rise and a non-face-to-face culture due to COVID-19 emerges, interest in robots in the food tech field is increasing. T-robotics’ aim is the future where robots and humans work together. “Cafe BotBotBot is not an absolute non-face-to-face concept, but the goal is to have a system as a way for robots and humans to work together.” According to Min Eun-Hong, IR team leader, the division of labor between robots and humans is already natural at ‘BotBotBot’. In reality, the difference between what a robot can do and what a human can do is different, so even if the function of a robot is significantly upgraded in the future, it is not a matter of taking over work or taking work. Experts predict that if robots become common in the food tech field, additional jobs will be created to maintain or manage these robots. To make robots occupy their position as human companions. This is the direction that T-robotics wants.
Meanwhile, T-robotics is an industrial robot company whose main products are mid- to large-sized vacuum robots. Vacuum robots are essential robots for display and semiconductor processes that are produced in high-temperature and high-vacuum environments where humans cannot enter. T-Robotics is the only company in Korea to produce medium and large-sized vacuum robots. In particular, it is the only place in the world that produces 11th-generation large-scale robots. With its management philosophy of creating a ‘robot that can work with humans in the future society’, T-robotics is expanding its area beyond the manufacturing field to our daily life. Recently, it is under the development of ‘Heal Bot-G’, a walking rehabilitation robot for medical use. It is an exoskeleton robot that allows stroke patients who have difficulty in walking to learn to walk in the rehabilitation stage, and allows patients to self-medicate and exercise without a rehabilitation therapist through the autonomous system of the robot suit. It is currently in the final stage of clinical trials in cooperation with Asan Hospital. With the aim of commercialization within 5 years, it is promoting technical cooperation with MyoSwiss, a Swiss soft suit robot startup from 2019.
Amid the rapid transition to a non-face-to-face economy due to COVID-19, the global logistics robot market is also growing rapidly. Thus, T-robotics wants to make another companion to humans. Carriro is an autonomous transport robot that combines robot technology with a truck, which can be applied to distribution warehouses and manufacturing sites. It follows and assists workers in the field, and helps to facilitate work through autonomous driving. The load capacity that can withstand is about 150~200kg, and manual bogie towing up to 600kg can be performed. It is expected that it will be a solution to various recent problems suffering from a shortage of manpower because it reduces the labor force of workers and enables unmanned repetitive transfer work.
The trend of this era is ‘robots as collaborators who help humans’. Robots and humans naturally stay in one space and do what each other can do best. It’s the most peaceful coexistence. May the word ‘together’ always stay with robots and humans. This will certainly be the case in the age of robots that T-robotics will lead.