Baxter, an industrial robot from Rethink Robotics based on the vision of Rodney Brooks—possibly the world's most celebrated roboticist—makes its debut this month. Brooks, who is also the start-up's founder, chairman, and CTO, is optimistic that Baxter will unleash a revolution in manufacturing because of the many ways in which it is unlike any other industrial robot. Its two arms, each with seven degrees of freedom, don't move with superhuman speed and precision. But the machine adapts to changes in its environment, and can be programmed to take on a new task by a person with no robotics experience. And while a traditional two-armed robot, including sensors and programming, will typically set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars, Baxter costs just US $22 000.
This paper discusses how both original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers in the automotive industry are challenged to keep pace with the fast-growing amount of electric and electronic (E/E) content in today's vehicles.