From The Register:
Humans 1 robots 0 as Mercedes deautomates production lines
"Robots can't deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today," Markus Schaefer, the luxury car-maker's head of production told Bloomberg. "We're saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people."
The robot marching papers are being handed out at the firm's largest manufacturing plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, which churns out 400,000 cars a year. In line with other auto-makers, the firm has diversified its car lineup to provide many different options, and the machines can't cope with the choices available.
"The variety is too much to take on for the machines," Schaefer said. "They can't work with all the different options and keep pace with changes."
The firm plans to add 30 new models to its lineup over the next four years, and that means a lot of customization in the manufacturing process. All of these will also have individual features picked by the buyer – from in-car technology to the color of the seats, and this is best done by human builders, he said.
The production line won't be entirely robot-free, Schaefer explained, but instead, humans will work side by side with smaller robots that can handle the main repetitive tasks while German workers do the tricky stuff. As an added bonus, paid workers can buy cars, further driving demand....MORE