A productive and versatile cognitive robot for the SME shop floor is the required advance beyond currently available flexible manufacturing. The SMErobotics vision is to have such robots and to deploy them on SME shop floors. This requires principles for how to develop and integrate such systems as well as a methodology for promoting their use by being able to estimate the end-user benefits (economic, technical and ergonomic). Thus, SMErobotics contributes to the overall ICT objective of improving the competitiveness of European industry by delivering impacts on productivity and innovation across manufacturing sectors (“Europe 2020” strategy).
Progress towards realisation of the vision requires a substantial industrial involvement, both to build solutions on real industrial state-of-the-art systems and also to have the outreach to a wide variety of industrial users and applications. The SMErobotics consortium uniquely addresses this opportunity. Our mission is to make the SME-compatible cognitive robot system a reality through enhanced cross-fertilisation between industry and academia. Clearly, the scientific competence of European academic research is needed for the required breakthrough, and also for technology transfer to cutting-edge pilot installations.