Sony 'Workman', anyone? Consumer giant teams with Kawasaki on teleoperated ‘bots

Japan’s ageing population and COVID inspire JV to create remote work platform biz


Sony and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have created a new joint venture to build a platform that allows remote work through teleoperated robots.

The pair last week announced that they’ll pump ¥100,000,000 (US$920,000) into a company that plans to build a “remote robot platform”.

The Register prefers to call it a “Workman”.

Kawasaki brings its expertise building industrial bots, while Sony’s experience building consumer electronics is its main contribution.

Together the two companies want to enable real-time interaction with remote robots, a scenario they feel is useful to improve worker safety and/or augment human capabilities in jobs that require heavy lifting.

Japan’s ageing population and labour shortages are reasons for the JV, because the two companies feel that remote robots might keep people in the workforce for longer, or see some return to work.

COVID-19 has also made this a fine moment to explore new ways of remote work, the two companies say.

The JV has given itself a 2022 deadline to demo its tech in the manufacturing or processing industry.

The two companies hope they’ll emerge able to offer a platform and services to industries that fancy creating new ways to work. ®

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