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Wally Edgar Chevrolet --GENERAL MOTORS Tech Center Engineers & Robonaut2
GM partnered with NASA to develop a huminoid robot that will be launched in the space shuttle in November to work as a robotic assistant to the astronauts.
A small group of GM engineers spent three years at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. GM has a long history of collaborating wit NASA. It also has a long history with robotics, being one of the first companies to introduce robotics in 1961. "We have been working
with robots for a long, long time. We use all kinds of heavy-duty industrial, commercially available robots" said Douglas (Marty) Linn, principal engineer of controls, conveyors, robotics and welding for GM. "We typically purchase between two and four thousand robots a year"
What NASA wanted was vastly different. "This class of robots is very new, has a lot of technical advantages from the point of view of safety and when you look at the electrification of the vehicle...those same sorts of features, have very close parallels to robots" said Linn.
For three years, seven GM engineers worked with NASA engineers full- time, on site, on one task: To build the most capable robot in the world. The collaboration resulted in dozens of patent applications and technology that GM can apply to it's own plant floors.
GM and NASA have a long history of working together. They combined to develop the inertial guidance navigation system that allowed the Apollo capsules to leave earth orbit, travel to the moon and safely return. It's also not well known that GM, NASA and Boeing combined to develop the famous lunar rovers that traveled across the moon's surface in the early 1970's Apollo moon landing missions.
It's no wonder that GENERAL MOTOR's participating engineers are now as proud as they are.
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