Looking ahead to the future, it is going to be imperative that we have complete standardisation of anything built. This is due to the fact that we will need a robotic maintenance specialist to fix everything for us. If one company, one nation, or even if one particular industry starts building their hardware, fasteners, and parts where they are attached with different methods than everyone else, then the robots used to repair these items cannot be used by those which have robots built for other standard specifications. Okay so let’s talk a little bit about standardisation of might.
The Common Cockpit Era
The Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, the US military, and most of general aviation is now on board with the concept of “common cockpit” which would mean that every cockpit of every aircraft, helicopter, glider, airliner, or even future flying vehicle would all be the same. Everything would be in the same place, except for aircraft which may be complex would have additional mechanisms, but then again, always in the same place as all the other complex aircraft of those types. This means a pilot could get out of one aircraft, climb into another or even a spacecraft and operate it safely.
Challenges in Standardisation
Tell me something, have you ever rented a car and noticed that everything is in the wrong place, or at least it is in a different place in your own personal car? It took a while to get used to the rental car, and about the time that you were used to driving it, it was time to give it back, and then fly home, and then drive your own car. If you have multiple cars and one is a standard transmission and one an automatic, you know what I’m talking about. Have you ever driven down the street and put your foot on the brake as you are accelerating thinking you were going to switch gears? That can be a problem.
In a way we are talking about the same thing, we’re talking about challenges in standardisation, and how the aviation industry is dealing with it. We’re going to have the same problems with robotics, where robotic repairman have robotic arms which will not be suitable or can’t be used as a universal tool for all types of hardware, nuts and bolts, and other fasteners types. There are some in some industries who will naturally want only their robots which they produced in their corporation to be used on anything that they have made in the past, by doing this they hope to sell more items, and more robots – and more parts for both.
The Future of the Robot Repairman
Still, this type of robot repairman bundling will cause a problem in just about every industry. In fact, it’s already starting to occur where you have to buy special tools to work on equipment from one manufacturer, as opposed to another. It’s going to cause the same types of problems we get into with metric or standard socket sets, wrenches, and things of this nature. When we get into the robotics field, it will be even more apparent because not every type of robot will have appendages or robotic arms capable of 6-degrees of freedom to work in very tight spots.
Therefore we need to be thinking about these things in the present, so we don’t get into problems later on when repairs are needed, and time is of the essence.