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App. B—Commissioned Background Papers

21

industry and domestically

universities to improve the capabilities and cost effectiveness

produced

robots.

Some

foreign

governments

have

supported

such

of

efforts through research and development grants to industry and to universities also and through encouraging prospective users, especially in defense industries.

Similar efforts have been made in this country, although probably on more limited scale.

Turning patterns may

to be

programmable automation,

somewhat. similar early developmental

noted.

Initial

applications

tended

to

concentrate

on

developing

process controls for individual production units.

But the fact that computer

manufacturers

had

a

broader

range

of

application

potentials

in

view

than

robot

producers

resulted

in

a

rapidly

expanding

concern

with

co–ordinating

progressively

wider sets creasingly

of individual process controls and then encompassing performance-monitoring and

integrating these control systems.

into in- Although

international surveys have called to be much more advanced than any

attention to some foreign systems which seem in the United States , most of these seem still

(9) to represent uncommon cases of pioneering or largely experimental applications.

Developmental efforts are under way in a number of domestic firms, especially

those involved in aerospace programs,

to extend applications of programmable

controls

to

a

variety

of

production,

planning

and

control

functions.

But most

of

these have not yet reached the stage of and none at all have achieved effective

reliable broad commercial applicability integration over a wide array of such

functions. distinctly

Moreover, both developmental efforts meager proportions in firms basically

and applications have been of devoted to non-defense production.

Hence the question arises in this connection, as it did in respect to robotics, whether any additional measures should be considered to augment the increasing, but still limited, efforts of private industry and of universities to accelerate the development of increasingly comprehensive programmable automation system.

Finally, increasing attention might well be given to the possibility that the development of programmable automation systems may engender an alternative approach

to the development of robotic past approach of roboticizing

functions and forms. existing manual tasks,

Specifically, in place of the the designing of programmable

(9) For example, see Dennis Wisnosky,

worldwide compUter–Ai.ded

Manufacturing

Survey (Dayton, OH:

Air Force Systems Command, December 1977) and

also

J.

Hatvany,

K.

Rathmill

and H. Yoshikawa, Computer-Aided Manufacturing:

An International Comparison (Washington,

D.C.

:

National Research Council

Committee on Computer-Aided Manufacturing, Sept. 1981.)

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