How China’s ‘Cobot’ revolution could transform automation

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The cooperative robot model that China is expanding could hold vital lessons for other developing economies that also rely heavily on small businesses.

There’s a “factory of the future” being built in Shanghai, with $150 million in investment from Swiss-Swedish automation giant ABB. Slated for completion in 2020, the factory is a place where “robots will make robots,” according to ABB. But the cutting-edge robotics technology the facility hopes to showcase won’t cater only to heavy industrial needs. It will also largely feature “collaborative automation solutions” — known as cobots — that work with humans instead of replacing them. The facility is evidence of an emerging Chinese automation strategy that’s beginning to reshape the world’s approach to robotics.

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