DEARBORN –  Ford uses technology from a startup called Symbio Robotics that looks at the past few hundred attempts to determine which approaches and motions appeared to work best. A computer sitting just outside the cage shows Symbio’s technology sensing and controlling the arms. Toyota and Nissan are using the same tech to improve the efficiency of their production lines.

The technology allows this part of the assembly line to run 15 percent faster, a significant improvement in automotive manufacturing where thin profit margins depend heavily on manufacturing efficiencies.

“I personally think it is going to be something of the future,” says Lon Van Geloven, production manager at the Livonia plant. He says Ford plans to explore whether to use the technology in other factories. Van Geloven says the technology can be used anywhere it’s possible for a computer to learn from feeling how things fit together. “There are plenty of those applications,” he says.