Virtual Robots in Industrial Metaverses

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Recent developments in 3D virtualization technologies enable the creation of ultra-realistic digital environments. But the high-fidelity metaverses that the young French company is developing are also inhabited by “cobots,” collaborative robots that learn in virtual factories to work in harmony with humans.

The “digital twins” used by manufacturers have long allowed them to perfectly reproduce objects, machines, and even simulate human behavior in the form of avatars. These highly specialized metaverses are infinitely more precise and complex than virtual and entertainment worlds currently offered by web giants. Companies use them to reproduce workplaces such as offices in 3D, or to study the environmental impact of setting up a future factory, for example.

Metaverses developed by a French company heavenly also include cohorts “cobots”, whose term is an abbreviation of the words “collaboration” and “robot”. The goal is to develop intelligent collaboration between humans and machines, says Hugo Falgarone, director and founder of Skyreal.

After the development, in particular for the needs of the automotive industry, of fully autonomous robots, that is, working alone and without the help of an operator, companies turned to robots more “joint“. These new types of machines are called “cobots“, a term coined in 1999, is an English abbreviation of “Joint robot“which translates to French as”collaborative robot“. At present, we have no other option than to test these interactive robots in a virtual environment to check their programming and that their behavior does not pose a danger to the human environment. That’s why we’re using high-fidelity metaverses to simulate a year of work in a factory to see how this collaboration between robots and humans develops.

This “cobotic“virtuality will allow optimizing interaction processes, for example, how to order a robot to stop a task or continue its work, or to be attentive to its environment and take into account changes in its environment. Currently, our industrial metaverses are being tested by Airbus Atlantique to test this type of collaboration. In particular, operators will formulate their instructions to robots using gestures or voice commands. This use of virtual environments for the development of cobots remains for the time being rather confidential in the industrial sector, which, however, believes that cobotics will soon put, but not replace, a person at the center of production processes. »

With or without cobots, the professional metaverses certainly portend the coming industrial revolution. But beyond the economic opportunities offered by immersive technologies deployed in companies, they must be ethical, sustainable and serve well-being at work, warn European politicians. The EU, as in the case of developments in the field of artificial intelligence in business, intends to regulate new ways of using virtual reality in the workplace.

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