How Does the ARM Institute Help Manufacturers?

Nov. 28, 2023
In this episode, we connect with Ira Moskowitz, CEO of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, to learn about its work supporting the use of robotics and AI in the manufacturing industries and how it helps manufacturers deploy and expand robotic applications.


David Greenfield, Automation World 
Welcome to the Automation World Gets Your Questions Answered podcast where we connect with industry experts to get the answers you need about industrial automation technologies. I'm David Greenfield, editor in chief at automation World and the question will be answering in this episode is What is the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute? Joining me to answer this question is Ira Moskowitz, chief executive officer of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, also known as the ARM Institute, which is an institute in the Manufacturing USA Network. So thanks for joining me today, Ira.

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Well, thanks very much for having me.

David Greenfield, Automation World
So this episode is a bit different from our usual podcast where we focus on specific technologies or industrial automation trends for our audience in the manufacturing industries. But with the fast uptake of robotics across industries over the past decade in particular, which has been accompanied by the growth of groups like the ARM Institute, it, it makes sense to explain this a bit. So, you know, given that, tell us what the ARM Institute and the Manufacturing USA network are and what they mean to manufacturers.

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Sure. Absolutely happy to do that. So the ARM Institute was established in 2017 by Carnegie Mellon University, and we're headquartered in Pittsburgh. But we are a national entity and we are one of 17 national Manufacturing USA institutes. So let me explain a little bit about Manufacturing USA. This is a national network that was initiated about 10 years ago and we are certainly a proud member of that.

And this national network of these 17 manufacturing institutes is really sponsored and partnered in a kind of a whole of government way by the Department of Commerce, Department of Energy and the Department of Defense for the individual institutes and all of the institutes have the same mission. We all work to try to help secure US global leadership in advanced manufacturing through these public private collaborations on technology and advance our supply chains.

But each institute is chosen to focus on a specific critical aspect of advanced manufacturing technology and also all of them are set up in a similar way in that there's three very important attributes, and I think of it kind of as a 3 legged stool, if you will. The first and most important aspect is that each institute's commissioned to gather a consortium of the leading entities and their particular technology across industry, academia and government. And then they use this consortium and they do two things with it.

The first is that they develop technology together in a kind of pre competitive collaborative space in a way that's kind of unique and not very possible in any other aspect. The second thing they do is they advance the education of the workforce in manufacturing in these specific technologies. So you have this very unique public private partnership. You have this collaborative precompetitive space where intellectual property can be shared it, but the background intellectual property can be protected of the members and you have this development of the workforce across the entire ecosystem.

So on the ARM side, we are again one of 17 of these National Institutes—we’re one of nine funded by the Department of Defense. And again, we are a public private partnership and we have now over 400 members across industry and academia and government that really now represent the leadership across the entire ecosystem. We are we, we are the third youngest institute.

So we're young one, but in the last 6 1/2 years or so of our since our initiation, we've executed over 150 projects both in technology and workforce development. We've managed over $100 million to date of government money and investments, and by the way, all of that is matched greater than one to one by cost share across the entities that are actually executing those projects.

If I if I may, David, I'd like to talk a little bit about the consortium and because that's really what's unique they are concerning of over 400 Members really does represent the entire robotics ecosystem. We have all of the top largest US defense contractors. We have a dominant share of the major suppliers that we're about ECS to the US, but we also have the small and medium sized companies from startups and AI and robotics to small manufacturers that use robotics.

So we have the entire industrial spectrum on the academic side. We have many of the top US universities doing research in robotics, we also have federally funded research and development centers that do that, but very importantly on the academic side, we have 60 or 70 community colleges vocational high schools. Those folks that train the manufacturing technician workforce of tomorrow, which is one of the most critical issues in manufacturing people can't get enough skilled technicians to do manufacturing.

And on the government side, we have NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology), Army, Air Force, Navy and NIOSH (National Institute for Occupations Safety & Health) in our consortium. So really, to execute our mission, which is one of those fundamental aspects of advanced manufacturing, as you said, robotics and automation, we leverage that very unique ecosystem to bring these technologies to all manufacturers of all sizes across the country. But equally importantly, to educate the workforce, ultimately to protect our supply chains and our national security.

David Greenfield, Automation World
OK. Thank you. So that is very a broad, a broad based group of organizations behind this. So thanks for clarifying that you mentioned one that I think I wasn't familiar with, I think you called the name was Cause Share. What is that? I didn't quite catch that.

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
So the concept of cost share.

David Greenfield, Automation World
Ah, cost share.

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Yeah. So what that means is that as part of the participation, when we do a project that's funded by government dollars, part of the part of the membership understanding is that people who execute these projects are gonna bring their own funds investment into it. And at least a one to one match to the government dollars. So it's a very important aspect of the institutes.

I'm glad you asked that, because what it does is it's a multiplier effect on our on our public funds in order to advance these technologies where they need to be advanced, the government comes with their share. Industry and academia come with their share, and then you have multiplier effect to do something that would be much more expensive for other industry and government to do alone.

David Greenfield, Automation World
OK, understood. So and and I assume this is the case, but I just want to clarify this for audience — since the ARM Institute is funded by the Department of Defense, as you mentioned, I'm assuming manufacturers outside of the defense industries can access the ARM Institute resources?

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Ohh absolutely. In fact, that is part of the design. The actual concept of this, particularly on on the defense institutes in the manufacturing institutes that are partnered with the Department of Defense, is that they bring in the entire ecosystem in a way that the Department of Defense can't easily access. And what we do is we do initiatives and projects both in technology and workforce that are in the intersection of the needs of both industry and academia and government.

So even if you're not part of the defense industrial base, you join the institute, you're wanting up working on a project. It's not in of interest to you, but also to the DoD. And again, you get that leverage, that multiplier effect.

But for the DoD side, they bring in these entities who never serve the interests of the DoD before, they weren't part of their supply chains. And now they actually become part of the supply chain because they're working on projects that have a defense orientation to them but are useful to industry, so little easier for us in the robotics institute, perhaps to do that versus some of the other institutes because it's robotics and automation and it's a manufacturing institute. So we really focus a lot on those basic manufacturing types of process steps. You know, coding, painting, reworking, a welding inspection, you know, these things are very important to the organic industrial base. They're important to the fence industrial base.

They're important to others that aren't in there. So just as examples, you know we have members, for example FedEx. So FedEx is typically not part of the defense industrial base and yet they let some of our projects that were very impactful for the industry and very helpful to the Department of Defense.

So by that way, all 400 of our members become, in a sense, part of that defense industrial base, but also we get the richness of the entities, both academia and industry, that are coming in to contribute to the nation's security, because we're bringing entities that typically aren't part of that defense space. And therefore you get this portfolio of of backgrounds and skills and technologies that you typically can't bring in so much more than can they access. We actually need them. Those that are not typically part of that to be part of the Institute.

David Greenfield, Automation World 
So it's kind of a boosting an organic cross polarization between entities that might not normally interact in manufacturing, defense.

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Right. Bringing up folks that don't typically interact, that's what makes not just our concerning but also 17 institutes unique.

What makes them unique is this broad industry R&D mapping that goes on across entities that typically don't talk to each other because it's cross industry. It's competitors enable to work together horizontally because it's precompetitive IP space where people share the IP.

We also get new supply chains form vertically, so you'll get, you know, some big OEM contractor, you know, a big Raytheon or you get a Lockheed Martin who's working with the university.

They never would have met before working with a startup that has key core, you know, Bleeding Edge technology that they never would have met before. And they get together in these partnerships and do these projects.

So it is, it is just as you mentioned it's creating these unique partnerships and the unique interactions and unique sharing that is in my experience of you know for almost 40 years and industry there really isn't any other model other than these manufacturing USA institutes.

David Greenfield, Automation World
Thanks for clarifying that. So can you share some insights into the key resources that manufacturers should be accessing from the ARM Institute?

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Yeah. Absolutely. So again, I'll put them in the three categories of my three legs of my 3 legged stool for the for the institute.

As I look at it, so let's talk first about technology. So as I said we we formed these teams and we bring in government money and we fill gaps in technology that need to be filled. If you're joining the institute and you're interested in technology, there's a few benefits that you get.

First of all, as I've talked about before, you get access to government money in a very focused, coherent way that might be a little difficult if you were trying to. You were project for the DoD, but we are basically convening this kind of DoD funding into specific projects and forming teams to do that.

So you get to participate on these teams that you couldn't otherwise participate. The second thing at the ARM Institute and the IP model is not the same intellectual property models, not the same across all institutes, but in the ARM Institute. We every member shares access to that IP and it's for free in precompetitive space.

So that's on both the academic side and the technology side.

So at this point we have about 200 gigabytes of intellectual property that has been formed by the ARM Institute through its projects, and all members get access to that for free in a precompetitive space. Now, if they're gonna execute that and use it commercially and make money on it, they have to pay a license fee to the team that developed it.

But the team has to give a license, so there's this massive amount of intellectual property in the key gap areas and robotics are known. Automation, and increasingly AI, that industry can actually access by being part of a member. 

The other aspect they get from an academic side is they get access similarly to all of our academic programming and training and and modules and other types of outcomes and outputs that have come from the Institute.

And then the final thing that they get is the convening. So they are part of this club, if you will. They're part of this consortium.

We just finished our annual meeting the last week. We had a close to, you know, 350 or so people there across the institute. It's a three day gathering and the benefit to them is not only listening to what's going on in ARM, but they get to meet and greet and network with and talk to not only all kinds of members, but people in the government as well from the NIST, Navy, Army, Air Force. The government sends a lot of representatives. We have webinars, we have councils and we do road mapping together, working together in a precompetitive space to understand and agree on what are the most critical areas that have to be served. And all of this, convening this networking for many of our members, that's why they're there.

Not all of our members want or get to participate on a project, but a lot of our members are there simply because they want to be within that network. They want to be in these convening and networking opportunities. So that's really what folks get by being part of our institute. And again very similar across the other institutes.

David Greenfield, Automation World
OK, so now most of the descriptions I've seen of the ARM Institute highlight its work around robotics and artificial intelligence. So can you clarify: Is the ARM Institute’s focus on AI specific to how AI is applied to robotic capabilities or is it further reaching into AI in general?

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Yeah, it's a great question and of course, AI is a very, very broad topic and there's no borderlines. You know, just there's intelligence for machines. There's, you know, chat, GPT and there of course an intersection across these various types of AI.

But we are manufacturing institute and so our focus is advancing the intelligence and the autonomy of machines of robots and of of automated systems. But within that, alright, there's certainly a broad aspect of AI that we developed but very specifically focusing on increasing the capability of machines to do things that they couldn't do before and very importantly a lot of the AI that we work on is finding ways that machines can work collaboratively with human beings in a safe and an intelligent way.

And that's really, you know, our vision of the future is that machines and people are working together, robots and machine and people are working together each, each taking advantage of the unique attributes that they have.

And we really believe and that's our official vision is that this is the way that our country is gonna remain competitive in produce the world's greatest products. So we are focusing just on the intelligence of the robots. We're not in the world chat, GPT. We're not in the world of AI for medicine. We are manufacturing institutes and I expect that similar across all the institutes that they're focused with AI, which is increasingly becoming part of all of our lives is going to be focused on how do we make manufacturing stronger and more competitive.

David Greenfield, Automation World
Thanks for clarifying that with all that's going on with AI now in particular right now, I thought that that definitely needed to be highlighted and explained there.

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute

David Greenfield, Automation World
So can you give a couple of examples of how the ARM Institute has helped manufacturers begin deploying or expanding their use of robots?

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Yeah, absolutely. And we just talked about AI, so it probably should be said that most of our projects to date just organically have used AI as the solution.

So when we do a project, we identify a gap in technology for manufacturing. We fill that gap, we put that out to project teams. They usually compete for those, and we award those based on the best teams likelihoods to succeed. They decide how they're going to solve their problem. Most of them are actually using AI and that probably needs to be said when you think about some of these projects that we're doing. Most of the projects they're benefits to really manufacturers are twofold.

One is it is doing things that either can be done better by a robot, or more precisely, that human beings can't do anymore. Or it's you taking care of a step in a process in a manufacturing process that may be very dangerous or very difficult for a human or ergonomically or very dirty step. Humans are increasingly valuable now because it's so, so hard to get skilled labor for manufacturing.

And so it's better to release the human from doing a very dirty and dangerous and generally lower paying task and get them to do something more valuable. That's probably a better living wage and use robots to do those things.

The other aspect of what a lot of our manufacturers are using robotics for now is they simply can't get enough people and the economy is doing well. A lot of manufacturers need more capacity. They need to expand and they can't find the people, and so they need to start automating in order to keep up with their demand. 

So you got those two aspects. One is free up the human again because human beings are scarce and manufacturing and free them up to do something better with their, with their brains, and replace the step that really a machine could be doing. And then you get that benefit. The second is simply that people can't find and find enough, but AI is becoming increasingly part of this cause. How do you replace a human being and a step and it becomes the need to have a robot to be much more autonomous, which means it has to be much more intelligent.

So you get a lot of AI machine learning solutions. In order to do these tasks, I'll give you one example of something that is completely dependent on AI and it's one of those tasks that human beings were struggling to do.

Sometimes the big air inlets of big jet planes have to be, you know, reworked and they have to be scrapped and redone. The surfaces inside those big inlets and previously a human being had to get suited up in a suit to protect themselves. They had to go and crawl inside that inlet and somehow do this job. It took a long time. Very difficult for human being to do it.

Well, we developed an autonomous robot that connect with a long extension arm that can actually go into that inlet and through machine learning, understand curved surfaces, understand which parts are damaged and go ahead and repair those kind of steps.

By the way, the human that was doing that step before is outside the helping to operate and maintain that robot.So that's a very that's a very typical example, very difficult task before that human was doing or a task that was very inefficient for a human being to do and replacing them to do that.

Another example I gave you is inspection. This is a big area for us, is to have robots doing inspection. We did a project where there was a curved shiny surface of a rotor blade for a motor that had to be inspected by humans, and we have these nice pictures of racks of these motor. These blades, where human being is holding them up, trying to inspect them very slowly for the tiniest of defects.

One by one we replaced that step with an inspection that was automated by a robot. That not only could do that inspection much more quickly than a human, but it had this technology that could actually adjust the lighting that it used for the inspection based on the ambient lighting to do that kind of inspection for these small scratches that was very hard because the reflection that a human being would be challenged with that had a 300X return on investment for that particular type of process step.

So these are the kinds of things that we're doing and and these are the kind of benefits that we get from a technology point of view for industry.

David Greenfield, Automation World
Very interesting. And as you were describing some of those tasks that are being replaced by robots, which are tasks that humans aren't necessarily, it's not necessarily safe for them and most humans don't want to do … I thought about a stint. I did in the brewing industry years ago, where we had to spray down the insides of the fermenters afterwards in preparation for the next batch. But you can only be in there for a very short amount of time because of the high levels of CO2 that we're still trapped in the fermenter—and that's another perfect example for, you know, some sort of small robotics to get in there and clean that out because it took forever to clean it because you had to keep going in and coming out and to have enough oxygen available. So there's no shortage of tasks like that in industry, for sure.

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Yeah. And you know, David, I should probably mention on the workforce side the benefits on the workforce side from the ARM Institute because it's equally important. We're talking a lot about technology, of course. It's very shiny and it's very exciting, but on the workforce side, if you are an academic member of the Institute, it's very, very helpful to you to understand the state of the art of workforce training, particularly as we get into these areas I just described of intelligence and machine learning and AI. And how do you train the workforce?

One of the things that we've done there that benefits our members is a few years ago we were developing training programs here and there, but our members said to us stopped developing robotics training. It's out there. Robotics supposed to some of the other technologies of the Institute, it's been around for a long time. And there's a lot of training.

Our institute members told us is that we don't know where it is. We don't the quality of it. There's no standardization. Help us fix this problem.

So we sat down with the leading experts in robotics training, particular for technicians in our in our consortium. And what we did over a series of long workshops is we first developed a set of standardized it's competencies to be a skilled robotics technician in the industry, a standardized framework.

The second thing we did is we built three classes of standard names and titles for technicians. Depending on the skill level and then what we did is we began to create this system that is now fully functioning, called and now it has almost 17,000 training programs across the country at all levels, which are listed against the standardized framework like a menu.

So if you're manufacturer, you can go in there and you can find people that went to one of these courses and you know exactly against the standardized framework what they have and what their skills are. If you're a job seeker and you want to have certain skills, you can go in there against the standardized framework and find the kind of training that you need in your geographic region because you can search geographically.

Or if you're in manufacturing, you want to send people to training, but you want them to have certain skills, you go into the system, find a local provider that's doing their training in that standardized set of competencies that you want.

And now we actually have a job matching where industry can put in their requirements against the company framework. Job seekers can put in what they have against the framework. There can be a job matching and we have thousands of these listings, so I didn't want to just talk about a technology because as a manufacturer myself for over 30 years running manufacturing plants in my top two or three challenges I ever had, not enough skilled manufacturing technicians was one of my biggest challenges and if I had a system like this, I would have, I would have paid for it. But it's free to use for not only for our members, but it's a public site. Anybody can use it.

David Greenfield, Automation World
hat's a great example because there's been so much talk for years about how much automation is eliminating jobs without an equal amount of attention paid to how many new jobs it’s creating and that are going unfilled because people don't know about them, don't have access to them, etc. 

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute

David Greenfield, Automation World
So back to the technology aspect again, collaborative robots have of course been a big boost to the robot market and to the manufacturing industries for several years now. And at first it was via the standard force, speed and payload limited cobots that we're all pretty familiar with by now, but you know over the past few years we're seeing more companies bringing collaborative technologies to industrial robots. So I'm curious, you know, do you see this collaborative tech for industrial robots becoming more of the way collaborative robots robotics is performed in the future? Or will the two separate cobot approaches coexist?

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
I think you’re going to have the two approaches, but you're gonna see the intersection of them. So we've done a number of projects with large industrial robots that are now collaboratively able to work with the human being. Yeah, even though they're very large and you require those types of robots for large tasks. So we have those.

We also have categories of smaller collaborative robots that typically would be doing picking things up or inspecting or smaller tasks and through the advance of technology, we're able to actually add high force functions at the end effector or the hand if you will, that the gripper of the robot to do tasks that typically only a large industrial robot could have done before. So when we talk about the first part, how do you get a big, heavy industrial robot that typically would be sequestered in a cage to work with the human?

And there's a number of techniques of this. The advancement in vision systems, both optical and white art type systems, have allowed the robots to be able to see much more precisely as human being around them. And there's various techniques for this. One of those is called the light screen, where you set up a series of detectors that surround an area where a robots working and it feeds information to this big, heavy, somewhat dangerous, you know, large industrial robot.

As to what is in its space with extraordinary precision, to the point where it knows a human is approaching it, so we have a nice demo going in our headquarters building of a very large, very imposing looking industrial robot, many times taller than a person that's swinging around this big piece of apparatus in a way simulating its working on it. And then when it gets to a certain point where it's now time for a human to do a step, that it, the human approaches this big robot and the robot essentially kneels down, if you will it, it puts its arm down and presents the object to the human and the human comes in there and does its work. And then backs away and as soon as it's a safe distance away, the robot starts swinging again.

In fact, Carnegie Mellon University, our biggest partner, is developing really interesting technology where instead of there being a light screen around the robot, the robot projects its own light screen as it looks around itself and finds objects around it. And identifies those which objects and humans. 

So one side of this these large industrial robots that are now becoming collaborative, even though they're still doing large industrial tasks. The other side of it is letting a small collaborative robot that you would typically see working near a human because they're smaller and they're less imposing doing high force task. 

We developed a system in one of our projects where there's a small collaborative looking robot. One of these small arms that you typically see in a collaborative sense with a high force drill at the end of the robot arm. So this robot has this high force drill. It's actually fastening and defending rivets on a big airplane wing. It's got the suction cups. It's autonomous. It's intelligent and it can move around and find these, you know, myriad of different types of fasteners recognize the right fastener and do that particular task, and it has a high first drill at the end that's been fastened to what otherwise is a fairly safe collaborative robot that people are now able to walk around and work near.

So you're going to see these intersections both ends, these big, heavy industrial robots have become so smart that they can work with the person, perhaps with a hologram HoloLens on, in order to help work with the robot. And you're going to see smaller robots that can do increasingly high force type of industrial functions.

David Greenfield, Automation World
It’s definitely an interesting intersection between the heavy industrial and the light collaborative robotics applications that are kind of being merged from both ends of the spectrum over the past few years.

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute

David Greenfield, Automation World
So, you know, based on your experience working in manufacturing and as part of the ARM Institute, working with manufacturers, are there common mistakes you've seen manufacturers make when it comes to selecting and implementing robots that you wish more manufacturers were aware of, so that those types of common mistakes could be avoided?

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Sure, absolutely. And I'm gonna talk mostly about the small and medium sized manufacturers because they're really large. I mean, the large compaies can hire robot experts and they can, you know, they can staff this up with leading technicians and engineers and robotics and execute their functions.

So where you see the challenges in implementing robotics and automation is really what the smaller and medium sized that don't have a staff or about assist and perhaps don't even know where to start.

And one of the most common things you'll see is there will be a robot arm sitting in the corner somewhere and some smaller medium sized manufacturing plant just sitting there because they thought they needed it and they bought it. And now it's sitting in the corner.

So one of the one of the first things that small and medium sized manufacturers need to do and they typically need help on this is to first kind of triage what their problem is. They may think it's an automation problem or robotics problem, but it may not be. Their biggest issue may sound like that, but in fact maybe they don't need automation or robotics to start with. They've got other inefficiencies that need to be dealt with that sound like the symptom requires a robot, but actually the root cause of something else.

So the very first thing is to actually do an engineering analysis of the line and maybe verify that you'll actually need a robot.

The second thing that, and particularly small and medium sized manufacturers need to do is to understand how the robot interacts with the rest of the line, because they may be able to automate a step that was previously done by a human and put in a robot to do that instead. But it could disrupt the entire way that that operation operates. So you really have to think about how do you reengineer the line so that that robot can actually function efficiently and the rest of the processes can actually continue to function. So you may need some adjustment to processes before the robot and after the robot to make that whole kind of process work well.

And then the third thing is robots need maintenance and they need up Cape and they need software upgrades. And so you're going to have to find a way to make sure that you're rescaling your staff in order to maintain this.

One of the ways that we're learning more about this and we're actually doing it, is where the recipient of part of the Build Back Better grant in the Pittsburgh region. This is a $62 million regional project of five separate projects. We're one of those projects and we do exactly what I just described and what your question was about what we do in our project is we help small and medium sized manufacturers who suspect they need robotics and automation, don't know what to do next and it's funded by the Department of Commerce. So we can bring these folks in, we can go visit them at their site. We can understand what their issues are with our roboticists and our experts. We can understand if they actually need robots.

If not, we may hand them off to another of the five projects that can help manufacturers fix their efficiency and manufacturing problems. But if they do need a complicated robot solution, we can bring them into our headquarters. We can work with them to identify what the solution is and make sure that it actually makes sense for their line. We can bring in integrators that are in our consortium to help them understand the engineering aspects of what this change is going to be and help them integrate it back.

So we're actually doing that under a Department of Commerce grant in a way that tries to resolve the typical challenges I just described.

David Greenfield, Automation World
So one last question for you, Ira: Wat can you tell us about the near term plans for the ARM Institute to help the manufacturing industries automate further with robotics?

Ira Moskowitz, ARM Institute
Well, one thing we're going to do is keep doing what we're doing. So what we're doing is with our members both in academia and industry, we have these various councils and groups. We continue to identify what the road map is for robotics to advance the capability and the value of robots to to US advanced manufacturing. And then we work with the government and with other funding sources to plug those gaps.

I just mentioned Department of Commerce. So even though the Department of Defense is our biggest source of funding, it's not the only source—there’s also the Department of Commerce and Department of Labor. And wee have foundation money, so we have a broad spectrum, but all of that is really focused on finding the next gaps and advancing those gaps.

We talked about AI before and so increasingly without doubt, AI is gonna be a bigger and bigger portion of what we're doing because that is going to be a bigger and bigger portion of US advanced manufacturing. So the whole concept of more and more autonomous to shines the collaborative asking working with humans, the human robot interaction problem is going to be a big part of what we're doing.

And in fact, you're going to have the multi agent, multi robot, multi human problem that we're going to be working on as well because in the factory you'll have multiple robots. You may have some autonomous mobile robots delivering material or picking up material you have humans wandering around and so really one of the biggest areas for investigation and problems to solve is how do you do multi robot, multi agent, multi humans or working in the same space.

And I expect that that is going to be a very big part of what we're going be focusing on going forward because it's going to be a big part of making sure that US manufacturing is competitive going forward.

David Greenfield, Automation World
Well, thank you, Ira, for joining me for this podcast. It's been a great discussion and very eye opening. As much as I had read coming into this, I learned a whole lot today and our discussion. So thank you very much and thanks of course to all of our listeners. Please keep watching this space for more installments of automation world gets your questions answered and remember you can find us online at to stay on top of the latest industrial automation technology insights, trends and news.