It looks like Apple manufacturer Foxconn may not be entirely ready to displace its human workforce in favor of robots just yet.
According to a new report coming out of the Taiwanese media, Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou is disappointed by the company’s current generation of so-called “Foxbots,” which supposedly fell short of expectations in terms of both proficiency and flexibility.
Earlier this year, Gou told shareholders that the company was set to start deploying 10,000 Foxbots to begin iPhone production — being used for jobs including polishing, tightening screws, and positioning larger exterior components in place, since these tasks did not require a high degree of finesse.
Each robot costs between $20,000 and $25,000 to build, and can manufacture up to 30,000 devices.
The new reports don’t state whether the Foxbots failed at the relatively simple tasks they were assigned to carry out — or if it was hoped that they could go further than this and replace human workers altogether rather than just augmenting them.
Foxconn hired an extra 20,000 (human) workers last month at its Shanxi factory to try and meet its iPhone orders. A 2nd generation of Foxbot is in the making.