Research project

Working with or against the machine? Optimizing human-robot collaboration in logistic warehouses

Understanding the nature of the interaction and collaboration between humans and robots.

Robots have entered our workplaces, and are there to stay! However, the fear that robotization will strip all motivating aspects of jobs or will lead to massive job loss is widespread. To make workers embrace rather than resist robots, and maintain their well-being in an increasingly robotized work environment, it is important to pay attention to human factors in the implementation of advanced robotics in the workplace.

The use of robots in the workplace is growing substantially. In many cases, these robots share the same physical space with employees and work closely with them to accomplish joint tasks as part of day-to-day work. Workplaces will increasingly contain humans and robots working together, each relying on the other for parts of the tasks where the other has the better skills. Complementarity of humans and machines guarantees workers 'ownership’ of their jobs that is key to making them embrace and profit rather than resist and suffer from workplace automation/robotization. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand the nature of the interaction and collaboration between humans and robots and how it can be further optimized in a way that takes into consideration the sense of meaning, well being and other ethical and psychological interests of the human workers.

The members of the research team are all employed at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences that conducts an active policy to stimulate interdisciplinary research. With backgrounds in respectively Work and Organizational Psychology, Ethics of Technology, and Operations Management, and a substantial track record in their respective domains, they have the complementary expertise needed to study the above-mentioned issues.

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Project information

Project Partners

  • TU/e, Human Performance Management Group (Industrial Engineering)
  • TU/e, Philosophy and Ethics (Innovation Sciences)
  • TKI Dinalog
  • Vanderlande Industries BV
  • Ingram Micro CFS Technology BV
  • Access Business Group International BV

Funding Program: NWO Responsible Innovation

Staff involved at TU/e

  • Dr. Pascale Le Blanc, HPM
  • Dr. Sven Nyholm, P&E
  • Dr. Sonja Rispens, HPM
  • Dr. Jilles Smids, P&E
  • Dr. Hannah Berkers, HPM