Year 2020, Volume 3 , Issue 2, Pages 13 - 20 2020-09-22

Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature

Mikkel KNUDSEN [1] , Jari KAİVO-OJA [2]

Collaborative Robots (Cobots) play an increasing role in the advanced manufacturing landscape. The cobot market is rapidly expanding, and the academic literature is similarly growing. This paper presents a short overview of current cobotic trends and futures frontiers of the cobot development with particular emphasis on the role of cobots within the Industry 4.0-paradigm and within global megatrends. Since there is a strange, but distinct lack of literature reviews on the topic of collaborative robotics, the paper provides novel and valuable insights. In highlighting current frontiers, the paper also illustrates potential developments of future human-robot interaction.
Collaborative robots, Cobots, Human-machine interaction
  • Ancarani, A., Di Mauro, C., & Mascali, F., 2019. Backshoring strategy and the adoption of Industry 4.0: Evidence from Europe. Journal of World Business, 54(4), 360-371.
  • Aroudani A., Zanchettin, A. M., Ivaldi, S., Albu-Schäffer, A., Kosuge, K., & Khatib, O., 2018. Progress and prospects for human-robot collaboration. Autonomous Robots, 42(5), 957-975.
  • Bendel, O., 2018. Co-robots from an Ethical Perspective. In Dornberger, R. (ed.), Business Informations Systems and Technology 4.0: New Trends in the Age of Digital Change. Springer, Cham.
  • Bloss, R., 2016. Collaborative robots are rapidly providing improvements in productivity, safety, programming ease, portability and cost while addressing many new applications. Industrial Robot: An International Journal, 43(5), 463-468.
  • Bogue, R., 2016. Europe continues to lead the way in the collaborative robot business. Industrial Robot: An International Journal, 43(1), 6-11.
  • Calzavara, M., Battini, D., Bogataj, D., Sgarbossa F., Zennaro, I., 2020. Ageing workforce management in manufacturing systems: state of the art and future research agenda. International Journal of Production Research, 58(3), 729-747.
  • Cherubini, A., Passama, R., Crosnier, A., Lasnier, A., & Fraisse, P., 2016. Collaborative manufacturing with physical human-robot interaction. Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 40, 1-13.
  • Crowe, S., 2018. Universal Robots Sees Strong Growth in Asia. The Robot Report, March 12, 2018. Accessed 27.01.2020 at
  • Dalle Mura, M., & Dini, G., 2019. Designing assembly lines with humans and collaborative robots: A genetic approach. CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology, 68(1), 1-4.
  • de Backer, K., DeStefano, T., Menon, C., Suh, J. R., 2018. Industrial robotics and the global organisation of production. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers, 2018/03.
  • Djuric, A. M., Urbanic, R., Rickli, J. R., 2016. A Framework for Collaboarative Robot (CoBot) Integration in Advanced Manufacturing Systems. SAE International Journal of Materials and Manufacturing, 9(2), 457-464.
  • Duffy V. G. (2016). Modern Human-Robot Interaction in Smart Services and Value Co-Creation. In V. G. Duffy (Ed.), Digital Human Modeling: Applications in Health, Safety, Ergonomics and Risk Management. Springer International Publishing.
  • El Zataari, S., Marei, M., Li, W., Usman, Z., 2019. Cobot programming for collaborative industrial tasks: An overview. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 116, 161-180.
  • European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), 2019. ESPAS Report 2019: Global Trends to 2030. Accessed at 27.01.2020 at
  • Fast-Berglund, Å., Palmkvist, F., Nyqvist, P., Ekered, S., Åkerman, M., 2016. Evaluating Cobots for Final Assembly. Procedia CIRP, 44, 175-180.
  • Goldberg, K., 2019. Robots and the return to collaborative intelligence. Nature Machine Intelligence, 1, 2-4.
  • Halder, B., 2019. How China’s ‘Cobot’ Revolution Could Transform Automation. Ozy. Accessed 27.01.2020 at:
  • Hentout, A., Aouache, M., Maoudj, A., & Akli, I. 2019. Human-robot interaction in industrial collaborative robotics: A literature review of the decade 2008-2017. Advanced Robotics, 33(15-16), 764-799.
  • Huang, J., Pham, D. T., Wang, Y., Qu, M., Ji, C., Su, S., Xu, W., Liu, Q., Zhou, Z., 2019. A case study in human-robot collaboration in the disassembly of press-fitted components. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture.
  • Ivaldi, S. (2018). Intelligent Human-Robot Collaboration with Prediction and Anticipation. ERCIM News.
  • Kaivo-oja, J., Knudsen, M. S., & Lauraeus, T., 2018. Reimagining Finland as a Manufacturing Base: The Nearshoring Potential of Finland in an Industry 4.0 Perspective. Business, Management & Education, 16, 65-80.
  • Kadir, B. A., Broberg, O., Souza de Conceicao, C., 2018. Designing human-robot collaborations in industry 4.0: explorative case studies. DS92: Proceedings of the DESIGN 2018 15th International Design Conference, 601-610
  • Knudsen, M. S., Kaivo-oja, J., 2019. Out of the Cages: Here comes the cobots. Tulevaisuuden tutkimuskeskuksen blogi. Accessed 27.01.2020 at:
  • Kootbally, Z., 2016. Industrial robot capability models for agile manufacturing. Industrial Robot: An International Journal, 43(5), 481-494.
  • Korn, O., Bieber, G., Fron, C.., 2018. Perspectives on Social Robots: From the Historic Background to an Expert’s View on Future Developments. PETRA ’18 Proceedings of the 11th PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments Conference.
  • Landscheidt, S., Kans, M., Winroth, M., & Wester, H., 2018. The future of industrial robot business: Product or performance based? Procedia Manufacturing, 25, 495-502.
  • Marvel, J., 2014. Collaborative Robots: A gateway info factory automation. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Accessed 27.01.2020 at
  • Marvel, J. A., Norcross, R., 2017. Implementing speed and separation monitoring in collaborative robot workcells. Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 144-155.
  • Mattson , S., Fast-Berglund, Å., Li, D., & Thorvald , P. (2020). Forming a cognitive automation strategy for Operator 4.0 in complex assembly. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 139..
  • Maurice, P., Padois, V., Measson, Y., Bidaud, P., 2017. Human-oriented design of collaborative robots. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 88-102.
  • Maurtua, I., Fernandez, I., Tellaeche, A., Kildal, J., Susperregi, L., Ibarguren, A., Sierra, B., 2017. Natural multimodal communication for human-robot collaboration. International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 1-12.
  • Murphy, A., 2017. Industrial: Robotics Oulook 2025. Loup Ventures. Accessed 27.01.2020 at:
  • Murphy, R. Woods, D.D., 2009. Beyond Asimov: The Three Laws of Responsible Robotics. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 24(4), 14-20.
  • Peshkin, M., Colgate, J. E., 1999. Cobots. Industrial Robot: An International Journal. 26(5), 335-341.
  • Sarc, R. Curtis, A., Kandlbauer, L., Khodier, K., Lorber, K.E., Pomberger, R., 2019. Digitalisation and intelligent robotics in value chain of circular economy oriented waste management – a review. Waste Management. 95, 476-492.
  • Schou, C., Andersen, R. S., Chrysostomou, D., Bøgh, S., Madsen, O., 2018. Skill-based instruction of collaborative robots in industrial settings. Robotics and Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 72-80.
  • Sharma, A, 2019. Cobot Market Outlook Still Strong, Says Interact Analysis. Robotics Business Review. Accessed 27.01.2020 at:
  • Stern H., Becker, T., 2017. Development of a Model for the Integration of Human Factors in Cyber-Physical Production Systems. Procedia Manufacturing, 9, 151-15
  • Villani, V., Pini, F., Leali, F., & Secchi, C., 2018. Survey on human-robot collaboration in industrial settings: Safety, intuitive interfaces and applications. Mechatronics, 55, 248-266.
  • Waurzuniak, P., 2016. New Collaborative Robot App Store Helps Users Find Solutions to Automation Problems. Manufacturing Engineering, 18-22.
Primary Language en
Subjects Engineering, Mechanical
Published Date November 2020
Journal Section Research Articles

Orcid: 0000-0003-0846-4005
Author: Mikkel KNUDSEN (Primary Author)
Institution: Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku
Country: Finland

Orcid: 0000-0002-2401-6299
Author: Jari KAİVO-OJA
Institution: Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku
Country: Finland

Supporting Institution Finnish Strategic Research Council
Project Number 313395
Thanks The project Manufacturing 4.0 has received funding from the Finnish Strategic Research Council [grant number 313395]. The project “Platforms of Big Data Foresight (PLATBIDAFO)” has received funding from European Regional Development Fund (project No 01.2.2-LMT-K-718-02-0019) under grant agreement with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT).

Application Date : January 30, 2020
Acceptance Date : April 9, 2020
Publication Date : September 22, 2020

Bibtex @research article { jista682479, journal = {Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications}, issn = {}, eissn = {2651-3927}, address = {Sakarya Üniversitesi, Mühendislik Fakültesi, Endüstri Mühendisliği Bölümü, M5 Binası, Serdivan Sakarya.}, publisher = {Harun TAŞKIN}, year = {2020}, volume = {3}, pages = {13 - 20}, doi = {10.38016/jista.682479}, title = {Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature}, key = {cite}, author = {Knudsen, Mikkel and Kaivo-oja, Jari} }
APA Knudsen, M , Kaivo-oja, J . (2020). Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature . Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications , 3 (2) , 13-20 . DOI: 10.38016/jista.682479
MLA Knudsen, M , Kaivo-oja, J . "Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature" . Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications 3 (2020 ): 13-20 <>
Chicago Knudsen, M , Kaivo-oja, J . "Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature". Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications 3 (2020 ): 13-20
RIS TY - JOUR T1 - Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature AU - Mikkel Knudsen , Jari Kaivo-oja Y1 - 2020 PY - 2020 N1 - doi: 10.38016/jista.682479 DO - 10.38016/jista.682479 T2 - Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications JF - Journal JO - JOR SP - 13 EP - 20 VL - 3 IS - 2 SN - -2651-3927 M3 - doi: 10.38016/jista.682479 UR - Y2 - 2020 ER -
EndNote %0 Zeki Sistemler Teori ve Uygulamaları Dergisi Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature %A Mikkel Knudsen , Jari Kaivo-oja %T Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature %D 2020 %J Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications %P -2651-3927 %V 3 %N 2 %R doi: 10.38016/jista.682479 %U 10.38016/jista.682479
ISNAD Knudsen, Mikkel , Kaivo-oja, Jari . "Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature". Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications 3 / 2 (September 2020): 13-20 .
AMA Knudsen M , Kaivo-oja J . Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature. jista. 2020; 3(2): 13-20.
Vancouver Knudsen M , Kaivo-oja J . Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature. Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications. 2020; 3(2): 13-20.
IEEE M. Knudsen and J. Kaivo-oja , "Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature", Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 13-20, Sep. 2020, doi:10.38016/jista.682479