This week in The History of AI at – Unimate became 1st first labor industrial robot

by Oct 15, 2022Chronicles, News

This week in The History of AI at – Unimate, an industrial robot developed in the 50s, becomes the first to work in New Jersey in 1961.

Unimate was invented by George Davol, who filed the patent in 1954. Davol met Joseph Engelberger in 1956, and the two paired up to found Unimation, the first robot manufacturing company. Davol and Engelberger promoted Unimate at The Tonight Show. Engelberger then exported industrial robotics to outside the US as well.

The Unimate worked at a General Motors assembly line at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in New Jersey. The robot transported die castings from asssembly lines and welded parts on autos. It did this job because it was considered dangerous for human workers, due workplace hazards such as toxic fumes. The robot had the appearance of a box connected to an arm, with systematic tasks stored in a drum memory.

Although this machine was not directly connected to Artificial Intelligence, it was a precursor to developments in that field. By implementing a robot that can do tasks, this project was taking the first steps towards AI. Thus, the HAI initiatve considers this a milestone in the History of AI.