Five early robots that transformed the auto industry

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1969 -- Trallfa: The painting robot

While Scheinman was developing his robot at Stanford in 1969, a small Norwegian agricultural company by the name of Trallfa was encountering a labor shortage. Unable to find workers to paint wheelbarrows, Trallfa designed a robot that would record the movement of a human painter spraying magnetic tape and then replicate the path. According to ABB Robotics, the painting robot was so popular it was spun off into a separate business that was eventually acquired by ABB’s previous incarnation, ASEA. Today, much of automotive painting is done using robots that are the conceptual advancement of Trallfa.

Photo credit: Norwegian Design Council

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