Some say he dated Princess Leia, that he once punched Neil Armstrong in a bar fight, and he’s deathly afraid of the Canadarm. All we know is, he’s called Robonaut 2.
This 300 lb. robot, developed by NASA and General Motors, will blast into space as part of mission STS-133 aboard the space shuttle Discovery slated for September. Robonaut 2 is merely a head, two arms, and torso — but was created as a robotic assistant that can work alongside humans. Robonaut 2 can use human tools, and in the future will be adapted to confront the harsh environment of a space walk. But where, exactly, does General Motors fit into all of this?
GM says its manufacturing engineering team is already working to identify potential applications for R2’s array of vision, motion and sensor technologies that will assist workers in manufacturing operations.
“Our strategy is to develop technologies that can fundamentally change the way we manufacture cars and trucks”, said Kenneth D. Knight, executive director GM Manufacturing Assembly & Automation Center. ”This includes a focus on developing ways to further support our operators.”
We have a better idea: create a second Robonaut 2 and send it to the moon, along with another lunar rover. General Motors helped NASA make the first rover, and we think a 24/7 “Lunar Race Network” would be the perfect antidote to ever-so-boring home decorating shows.