According to CEO Terry Gou, the robots — dubbed “Foxbots” — are in the final stages of testing and could see deployment in at least one major Foxconn factory in the near future, with lines dedicated to Apple devices getting first priority, reports IT Home.
For the initial rollout, Foxconn is said to be planning an installation of 10,000 robots to replace human workers, possibly including those who make Apple’s popular iPhone product range. Each Foxbot can complete an average of 30,000 devices per year, meaning a release of 10,000 would theoretically yield 300 million iPhones if completely tasked to that production line.
At a cost of $20,000 to $25,000 each, the robots could also represent a substantial savings for Foxconn, which currently employs more than 1.2 million workers at its various factories across China. Aside from overtime wages, housing and production line stoppages, the introduction of a fully automated manufacturing solution could solve the company’s ongoing workers’ rights troubles.