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Robots trusted to do non-critical functions in manufacturing workspaces

manufacturing workspaces
January 11, 2023

by nfdeklerk 0 comment

Robots trusted to do non-critical functions in manufacturing workspaces

In South Africa, 86% of manufacturing employees surveyed trust robots to do cleaning and 83% trust them to deliver parcels and orders, but fewer than half of employees, or 43%, would trust robots in such tasks as managing dangerous manufacturing, said cybersecurity services multinational Kaspersky.

The company conducted a study of employees of manufacturing companies and other large organisations in the Middle East, Türkiye and Africa region, which showed that employees trust robots to perform ordinary tasks in logistics, transportation and cleaning, but not for life critical functions, such as performing surgeries, flying aeroplanes without pilots or managing dangerous manufacturing or pharmaceutical production.

Only 24% of local respondents trust robots to perform a surgery.

These concerns can be explained by the fact that 70% of all employees point out that it is unclear who bears responsibility if robots fail in their duties owing to an equipment malfunction or a cyberattack.

Further, 50% of employees believe that, if robots malfunction, they can cause a physical threat to humans, said Kaspersky technical experts head Emad Haffar.

One of the reasons for the lack of trust in robots is the belief that robots are prone to cyberattacks. This view is supported by 73% of employees surveyed in South Africa, he noted.

“Today, robotics are used together with industrial control systems (ICS) and other information technology to handle production processes, replacing manual labour and improving efficiency, speed, quality and performance. Our research shows a split in employees’ opinion on the duties that robots are fit to carry out,” said Haffar.

“While employees in general are ready for robots to perform unskilled duties, such as cleaning and order delivery, the majority are not ready to trust robots with critical functions, which, if done wrong, could cause financial damage or be a physical threat to humans,” he said.

Further, from January to September 2022, malicious objects were blocked on 38% of ICS computers in the Middle East, Türkiye and Africa region that were protected by Kaspersky solutions, according to Kaspersky ICS Cyber Emergency Response Team statistics.

“We predict that the number of attacks on robots in different industries may increase owing to continuing digitisation,” he said.