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Tesla Bots, Honda Prefers Humans

Robotic welders on the production line at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, in Montgomery.

Robotic welders on the production line at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, in Montgomery.

Sure, he just launched a car into space using the most powerful rocket ship ever created on Earth, but there are less appealing aspects to Tesla CEO Elon Reeve Musk. His plan to build cars using no humans, for instance.

Musk, quoted in many places, makes it clear people don’t fit in his vision of automotive architecture. They would be on the sidelines, paying attention to what the robots are doing, but not on the line.

‘’We are pushing robots to the limit in terms of the speed that they can operate at, and asking our suppliers to make robots go way faster, and they are shocked, because nobody has ever asked them that question. It’s like, if you can see the robot move, it’s too slow.”

Nearly all auto manufacturers use robots for welding and painting. Honda Motor Co., which won the North American Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show recently with its 2018 Honda Accord, has chosen to keep things human on the final assembly line, where constantly changing accessory installations and tight spaces rule the day.

“We can’t find anything to take the place of the human touch and of human senses like sight, hearing and smell,” Tom Shoupe, the COO of Honda’s Ohio manufacturing unit, told Automotive News.

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