Proactive human–robot collaboration: Mutual-cognitive, predictable, and self-organising perspectives

Shufei Li, Pai Zheng, Sichao Liu, Zuoxu Wang, Xi Vincent Wang, Lianyu Zheng, Lihui Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Human–Robot Collaboration (HRC) has a pivotal role in smart manufacturing for strict requirements of human-centricity, sustainability, and resilience. However, existing HRC development mainly undertakes either a human-dominant or robot-dominant manner, where human and robotic agents reactively perform operations by following pre-defined instructions, thus far from an efficient integration of robotic automation and human cognition. The stiff human–robot relations fail to be qualified for complex manufacturing tasks and cannot ease the physical and psychological load of human operators. In response to these realistic needs, this paper presents our arguments on the obvious trend, concept, systematic architecture, and enabling technologies of Proactive HRC, serving as a prospective vision and research topic for future work in the human-centric smart manufacturing era. Human–robot symbiotic relation is evolving with a 5C intelligence — from Connection, Coordination, Cyber, Cognition to Coevolution, and finally embracing mutual-cognitive, predictable, and self-organising intelligent capabilities, i.e., the Proactive HRC. With proactive robot control, multiple human and robotic agents collaboratively operate manufacturing tasks, considering each others’ operation needs, desired resources, and qualified complementary capabilities. This paper also highlights current challenges and future research directions, which deserve more research efforts for real-world applications of Proactive HRC. It is hoped that this work can attract more open discussions and provide useful insights to both academic and industrial practitioners in their exploration of human–robot flexible production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102510
Number of pages30
JournalRobotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Human-centric manufacturing
  • Human–robot collaboration
  • Industrial Internet-of-Things
  • Industry 5.0
  • Smart manufacturing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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