The social impact of a robot co-worker in industrial settings (Inproceedings)

Sauppe, A., and B. Mutlu. “The Social Impact of a Robot Co-Worker in Industrial Settings”. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, 2015, pp. 3613-22.


Across history and cultures, robots have been envisioned as assistants working alongside people. Following this vision, an emerging family of products-collaborative manufacturing robots-is enabling human and robot workers to work side by side as collaborators in manufacturing tasks. Their introduction presents an opportunity to better understand people’s interactions with and perceptions of a robot “co-worker” in a real-world setting to guide the design of these products. In this paper, we present findings from an ethnographic field study at three manufacturing sites and a Grounded Theory analysis of observations and interviews. Our results show that, even in this safety-critical manufacturing setting, workers relate to the robot as a social entity and rely on cues to understand the robot’s actions, which we observed to be critical for workers to feel safe when near the robot. These findings contribute to our understanding of interactions with robotic products in real-world settings and offer important design implications.

DOI: 10.1145/2676723.2677248


	doi = {10.1145/2702123.2702181},
	url = {},
	year = 2015,
	month = {apr},
	publisher = {{ACM}},
	author = {Allison Saupp{\'{e}} and Bilge Mutlu},
	title = {The Social Impact of a Robot Co-Worker in Industrial Settings},
	booktitle = {Proceedings of the 33rd Annual {ACM} Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems}