GM and NASA are working on developing a new humanoid robot called the Robonaut 2 (R2) as well as related technologies that will be used in both automotive and aerospace industries.
The Robonaut 2 is basically the faster more dexterous version of Robonaut, who can use its hands and work alongside people. If you’re not quite sure how all this can help GM then the company’s vice president Alan Taub says "this is about safer cars and safer plants" as the advancements in controls, sensors and vision technology can take vehicle safety to the next level.
NASA says that this new humanoid robot developed in partnership with GM will open the gates of a new era of space exploration, expanding their capability for
construction and discover.
GM press release :
WASHINGTON — NASA and General Motors are working together to
accelerate development of the next generation of robots and related
technologies for use in the automotive and aerospace industries.
Engineers and scientists from NASA and GM worked together through a
Space Act Agreement at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to
build a new humanoid robot capable of working side by side with people.
Using leading edge control, sensor and vision technologies, future
robots could assist astronauts during hazardous space missions and help
GM build safer cars and plants.
The two organizations, with the help of engineers from Oceaneering
Space Systems of Houston, developed and built the next iteration of
Robonaut. Robonaut 2, or R2, is a faster, more dexterous and more
technologically advanced robot. This new generation robot can use its
hands to do work beyond the scope of prior humanoid machines. R2 can
work safely alongside people, a necessity both on Earth and in space.
"This cutting-edge robotics technology holds great promise, not only
for NASA, but also for the nation," said Doug Cooke, associate
administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. "I’m very excited about the new
opportunities for human and robotic exploration these versatile robots
provide across a wide range of applications."
"For GM, this is about safer cars and safer plants," said Alan Taub,
GM’s vice president for global research and development. "When it comes
to future vehicles, the advancements in controls, sensors and vision
technology can be used to develop advanced vehicle safety systems. The
partnership’s vision is to explore advanced robots working together in
harmony with people, building better, higher quality vehicles in a
safer, more competitive manufacturing environment."
The idea of using dexterous, human-like robots capable of using
their hands to do intricate work is not new to the aerospace industry.
The original Robonaut, a humanoid robot designed for space travel, was
built by the software, robotics and simulation division at Johnson in a
collaborative effort with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency
10 years ago. During the past decade, NASA gained significant expertise
in building robotic technologies for space applications. These
capabilities will help NASA launch a bold new era of space exploration.
"Our challenge today is to build machines that can help humans work
and explore in space," said Mike Coats, Johnson’s center director.
"Working side by side with humans, or going where the risks are too
great for people, machines like Robonaut will expand our capability for
construction and discovery."
NASA and GM have a long, rich history of partnering on key
technologies, starting in the 1960s with the development of the
navigation systems for the Apollo missions. GM also played a vital role
in the development of the Lunar Rover Vehicle, the first vehicle to be
used on the moon.

Source: GM