Have you heard of Cobots and Industry 5.0? Cobots (collaborative robots), are intended to work in close proximity with humans in a shared work place, while Industry 5.0 is mostly robots collaborating/working with humans, helping them work better and faster – not replacing them.


In these surreal times of COVID-19, interesting dichotomies have emerged 

  1. Healthcare professionals are strongly propagating that social distancing is the key to prevent the spread of Corona Virus, yet they’re forced to be the closest to the disease while treating. Same applies for law enforcement workforce while ensuring proper lockdowns & curfews. I recently read an article which indicated that thousands of such people (health care and law enforcement professionals and their families) who got infected in this process and several of them lost their lives.
  2. Elderly people who need maximum social interaction compared to others, are the ones who need to be isolated the most, as they are most susceptible to this disease. 


Looking back, if we had done a better job in adopting Industry 5.0 best practices across different walks of life, we may have better controlled the spread of COVID-19. Lets look at some of the potential use cases, by leveraging Industry 5.0/ Cobots –

  1. Cobots doing the diagnosis of patients with help of smarter artificial intelligence, continuously disinfecting the rooms and buildings with UV light and other methods, deliver supplies, administer medicines… the list can keep going on.
  2. Drone and Cobot as law enforcement force to perform real time monitoring and controlling the human flow of traffic. As a crude analogy, the way we have seen robots being leveraged to diffuse bombs as part of the anti bomb squads.
  3. Cobots to provide useful and meaningful interactions for the elderly and others who are all by themselves and need emotional/psychological support. 


The best part would be that this model would be a safe as well as scalable during these trying times. The question arises why have we not leveraged them to the fullest.

  • Awareness – There are lot of misconceptions & mis-understandings specially around security and also if such Cobots will replace human jobs. 
  • Customized experience – The belief that only humans can bring it for other human beings.
  • When Industry 4.0 is not completely leveraged and hence moving to Industry 5.0 would be yet another BIG step.

Final Deductions

My key take aways are –

  1. Humans are indispensable in this entire Industry 5.0 ecosystem as they bring lot of sensitivity to emotions/feelings for others. However, as explained earlier, Cobots can take up risky, repetitive tasks away and allow humans to focus only on only key deliverables – customized experiences being one of them.
  2. Cobots will play a leading role in collaborating with humans as we move forward to ensure that we bring customized products and services. Simple analogy would be how the ATMs collaborated with bank employees to create a better experience for people.
  3. Centralized approach by the Governments and authorities globally to agree on use cases with universal deployment globally. This may take care of all security, scalability, preparedness for such extreme situations like pandemics etc, as well as take into account health, psychological, emotional needs of the individuals/communities. A task force which can agree on all different features for such Cobots including but not limited to technologies (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Cloud, Security, Big Data for Analytics, Internet of Things, Disgiotzation, Automation, Robotics with Artificial intelligence aided by Video, Audio, Speech etc.). physical design and look & feel (to take care of factors acceptance and avoid intimidation etc.)

Let’s all work together to ensure that we find the best mechanisms around peaceful co-existence and collaboration between Cobots and humans for a bright and safer tomorrow. 

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