Foxconn, responsible for manufacturing hardware of companies like Apple, Sony, Nintendo and more, has begun replacing factory workers with robots. These plans were made known by the company as far back as last year and are now beginning to come to fruition. According to a report by CNET, 10,000 of these robots have arrived in one of Foxconn’s multiple factories and 20,000 more are expected before the end of 2012.
It isn’t entirely clear what these robots will be responsible for doing but will likely replace repetitive tasks that can easily be done by a brainless, programmable robot, like putting parts together.
A notable piece of information in this report is the cost of production for one of these robots, which is around 20,000 to 25,000 USD. This is thrice the average annual salary of a normal factory worker at Foxconn. Despite how costly of an endeavor this is, however, the benefit of increased efficiency and, more importantly, significantly less chances for suicides must have been the deciding factor. Plus, assuming these robots have a long useful life and low maintenance costs, Foxconn will easily recoup their upfront costs in a few years.