Mercedes-Benz Set to Boost Production Line with Humanoid Robots

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Key Takeaways

  • Mercedes-Benz to trial Apptronik's Apollo robot for factory tasks.
  • Apollo can lift 55 pounds and works four hours per charge.
  • The partnership aims to automate physically demanding tasks.

Humans may soon be sharing the factory floor with human-like robots at Mercedes-Benz.

Today, the German automaker announced that it has partnered with Apptronik, a Texas-based robotics firm. Together, they will test the potential application of Apptronik’s humanoid robot, Apollo, in its factories.

The Apollo robot, which is 5’8″ and 160 pounds, is designed to lift up to 55 pounds and can function for four hours on a single battery charge. Its unique design includes arms, legs, and eyes with LED lights and a chest-mounted screen that can display various types of information.

Robots in car manufacturing are nothing new, but they have traditionally been limited to performing specific tasks on the assembly line. However, the Apollo robot is designed to be more versatile and could be used for a wider range of low-skill, physically challenging, and repetitive tasks.

Jörg Burzer, a Mercedes-Benz Group management board member, echoed this sentiment.

He stated that robotics is intended “to fill labor gaps in areas such as low-skill, repetitive, and physically demanding work, thereby freeing up their highly skilled team members to focus on building the world’s most desirable cars.”

Apptronik’s CEO and co-founder, Jeff Cardenas, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership. He stated that other organizations will likely replicate this model use case.

Cardenas mentioned that their initial vision for Apollo included forming partnerships such as the one they announced with Mercedes-Benz, which he described as a dream scenario. He elaborated that Mercedes intends to utilize robotics and Apollo to automate low-skill, physically demanding, and manual tasks: a model he anticipates will be emulated by other organizations in the future.

Robotics in the Automotive Industry

This move by Mercedes-Benz is part of a growing trend in the auto industry. Last year, Tesla announced on X that over 600 Godzilla robots were added to its production line.

Earlier this year, BMW signed a business contract with Figure, an autonomous robotics firm based in Silicon Valley. The agreement involves integrating multipurpose humanoid robots into BMW’s production plants.