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7,000 workers interviewed about robots + AI world-wide

18 May 2018

With around 1.8 million industrial robots, the number of robots has reached a new record in factories around the world.

Workers around the world rate the fact that "colleague robots" can take over work that is detrimental to health or handle hazardous materials positively (64 percent on average). However, employees are worried about how their own training can keep up with the pace of the working world 4.0. These are the findings of the automatica Trend Index 2018. 7,000 employees in the USA, Asia and Europe in a representative survey of the population were interviewed by a market research institute on behalf of automatica, the world's leading trade fair for robotics and automation

When it comes to their own country, only about one in four employees is convinced that training and development already plays a key role in the workplace of the future. This new collaboration with robots is regarded by the majority of all seven countries (average 68 percent) as an opportunity to master higher-skilled work. Particularly in China (86 percent) and in the USA (74 percent), people expect that robotics automation will provide added impetus to further their vocational training. The number of higher-skilled and better paid jobs will rise in the future with the new human-robot teams – according to about one in two survey respondents in Germany, France, Italy, the UK and Japan. In China and the United States, as many as 80 percent of workers presume this will be the case.

The maturity level in training and development

Based on school grades, the maturity level in training and development for the digital workplace of the future has so far fallen far short of employee expectations: with a grade of good or very good, the current offering of one's own employer is not even rated by one in four respondents (on average 23 percent). 

Robotics and automation are very popular

The companies can count on a positive basic attitude among their employees regarding robotics and automation. In the working world of the future, human-robot teams will improve manufacturing by combining human talents with the strengths of robotics - some 70 percent believe. When people and machines work hand-in-hand without a safety fence, people need talents such as judgement and fine motor skills. The robot can score with power and precision. 

64 percent of all workers from the seven countries want to use artificial intelligence (AI) for human-machine collaboration. 73 percent assume that AI makes it easier for people to assign the machine new tasks - for example, via voice command or touchpad.

automatica 2018 shows rapid development to work 4.0

"As the survey shows, employees want more consistent commitments from politicians, industry and science as regards training and development for work 4.0," says Falk Senger, managing director of technology fairs at Messe München. "At the same time, the technological development of intelligent automation and robotics is advancing at a tremendous pace. All aspects of this development will be showcased at the automatica 2018 in Munich from 19 to 22 June." 

automatica Trend Index 2018

For the 2018 automatica Trend Index, a total of 7,000 employees, in the US (N = 1,000), China (N = 1,000), Japan (N = 1,000), Germany (N = 1,000), France (N = 1,000), Great Britain (N = 1,000) and Italy (N = 1,000) were interviewed in a representative survey of the population in January 2018 by a market research institute (online panel) on how robots and digitisation are changing the working world.

“The Role of Man in the Smart Factory” at automatica 2018 

The special exhibition presented by VDMA Robotics + Automation “The Role of Man in the Smart Factory” demonstrates that people play a central role in the digital factory. Trade visitors can see there how people and machines will interact in the future, how they will communicate with each other, and how ergonomic and versatile jobs will be. Place: hall B4, booth 338


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