Foxconn's much-vaunted robot army will do little more than insert screws, polish parts and assist human workers, it has been claimed.
A report in the Taiwanese press has suggested that "Foxbots" are nowhere near sophisticated enough to replace real people in Foxconn's factories, which have been the scene of worker suicides.
Sadly, the unhappy Foxconn cohort will get no robotic reprieve from life as an iAssembler, as it looks like the Foxbot has only the most basic of skills.
The robot army will still need human oversight of its work, according to Taiwan's United Daily News.
"The industry believes that the initial production of Foxconn robots play an auxiliary role [and] will mainly be used in larger manufacturing process, such as the appearance ... locking screws, components and polished appearance, which means that Foxconn carried out through mobile phone assembly robot technology has considerable the breakthrough is expected to be pulled high yield and output," the newspaper reported. (via Google Translate)
"The robot still needs the naked eye can not distinguish subtle assembly or manufacturing process, and therefore such as quality control, precision components and assembly steps, which still rely on manpower." [sic]
Once upon a time (which means 2011, if we're being precise, Foxconn said it would replace most of its factory workforce with robots by 2014. No such luck.
The news will come as a blow to Apple and Foxconn itself, because it's a lot cheaper and easier to replace human beings with robots, who aren't known for forming unions or attempting suicide. Or leaking a demo model of the iPhone 6. ®