LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville is at the forefront 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 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 also K-12 students on how to work with the robotics that will be in automated workplaces in the future.
“We know technology is going to advance at a rapid pace. This is going to disrupt everything we do, and this is the kind of thing that will be at the forefront of these changes so that people, whether they are UdeL students, whether they are researchers or whether they are even JCPS students, getting a head start in getting familiarized to become experts in these advanced processes,” said Rep. John Yarmuth, who lobbied for the new funding.
Program officials say there is a need to integrate robotic technology into learning.
“This is the future of manufacturing,” said Dan Popa, director of LARRI’s Robotics Institute. “Let’s face it, the workforce isn’t growing. One way to expand the workforce is to include people with disabilities, people who traditionally don’t think about working in factories. The way to do this is to allow them to interact with this new technology in a more intuitive, simpler and more productive way.
Leaders of the LARRI Robotics Institute admit that robots will eventually replace people in some manufacturing jobs. However, they predict this will make room for other higher paying positions needed to work with robots.
“So this technology is 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 with their time and energy.
The types of robots the program will work with are expected to cover a wide range of fields such as aerospace, automotive, biomedical and dental industries.