Tech Talk: Ken Swayne | Automation lecture

Listening to Mr. Swayne discuss some of the behind-the-scenes equipment needed to make automation work, really was eye-opening. It’s funny because when you say the word automation, I immediately think of movies like iRobot, RoboCop and equipment such as drones or assembly line type of machinery. I’ve never really put much thought in what makes all of that automation work.

For robotics such as in the movies, you still need someone to not only build the hardware, but even before that, you need someone or a team to develop the software. Someone still needs to be able to program the machine to do whatever the task at hand may be.

I’ve also never considered my car to be something that is automated, but Mr. Swayne mentioned that a cars’ cruise control setting is a form of automation. Behind the scenes in our  automobiles, the system is reviewing terrain, speed changes and plugging in all sorts of data into an algorithm that adjusts the speed of a vehicle going up and down hills accordingly. This all happens pretty much in the blink of an eye so having a trained technician and programmer is essential to the car industry for these types of features.

He also mentioned factory automation and why using robots work in this type of setting. I do agree that using robots allows for more precise work since you are taking the human element of job burnout and fatigue out of the equation. I also agree that using robots in this way can make production lines quicker and are more cost effective.

I’m interested to see where automation takes us in the future. What is one feature in your life that you would love to see automated?


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