LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville is getting in on the cutting edge of testing and teaching about robots that will eventually replace some human jobs in automated workplaces.
UofL’s Louisville Automation and Robotics Research Institute, or LARRI, received $750,000 in federal funding on Friday to launch its new Robotics and Additive Manufacturing Pathways to SUCCESS, or RAMPS, program. The program will conduct pilot programs and educate not only college students but K-12 students as well on how to work with the robotics that will be in automated workplaces in the future.
“We know that technology is going to advance at a rapid pace. It’s going to disrupt everything we do, and this is the type of thing which will be on the cutting edge of those changes so that people whether they’re UofL students, whether they’re researchers or whether they’re even JCPS students, will get a head start in familiarizing themselves in becoming experts in these advanced processes,” said Rep. John Yarmuth, who pushed for the new funding.
The program’s leaders say it’s necessary to incorporate robotic technology into learning.
“This is the future of manufacturing,” said Director of the Robotics Institute at LARRI Dan Popa. “Let’s face it, the workforce is not expanding. One way to expand the workforce is to include people with disabilities, people that traditionally don’t think about working in factories. The way to do that is to allow them to interact with this new technology in ways that are more intuitive, easier and more productive.”
Leaders at LARRI’s Robotics Institute admit robots will eventually replace people in some manufacturing jobs. However, they predict that will make room for other, higher paying positions needed to work with the robots.
“So this technology’s going to revolutionize the way we conduct work,” Popa said. It’s not that it’s going to replace people, but it’s going to allow people to do better things with their time and energy.”
The types of robots the program will be working with are expected to span a broad range of fields like the aerospace, automotive, biomedical and dental industries.