I. Pre-Programmed Robots

Jeremy Gottlieb: Author
David Leech Anderson: Author

Pre-programmed robots are ones that have to be told ahead of time what to do, and then they simply execute that program. They cannot change their behavior while they are working, and no human is guiding their actions.


There is probably no other industry that has been so revolutionized by industrial robots than the automobile industry. There are pre-programmed robotic arms so large that they are able to handle entire automobiles as if they were toy cars. There are also pre-programmed robots that can make the tiniest weld or spray paint with aesthetic precision. Manufacturing has never been the same since robots have taken over the jobs that humans used to do.

BMW Factory


Pre-programmed robots are particularly good for tasks that require a very high level of accuracy at a very fine level. For example, if we want to use radiation to kill tumors in cancer patients, we need to be able to deliver the radiation precisely to the tumor. If we miss, we may end up killing healthy tissue near the tumor instead of the tumor itself. The CyberKnife radiosurgery machine is a pre-programmed robot designed to deliver very precise doses of radiation to very precise locations within the human body.

Another common use of pre-programmed robots is as training simulations, such as the S575 Noelle. These robots are constructed to present medical students with various scenarios that they must diagnose and treat. The robot is pre-programmed with a possible scenario, and its responses to the students' treatment is also pre-programmed. So you could not, for example, try an experimental treatment because the robot would not know how to respond. You must try one of the treatments that the robot is programmed to respond to.