Towards human-chatbot interaction: a virtual assistant for the ramp-up process

Nowadays, we are surrounded by virtual assistants in everyday life. But one domain that is assumed to massively benefit from virtual assistants, is manufacturing. In particular, where activities are reliant on human expertise and knowledge, a virtual assistant could help support the human. The vision of this work is inspired by the need for bringing an assembly system more rapidly to an operational state. To achieve this vision, a decision-support framework that aims to better integrate the human operator into the ramp-up activity is proposed. As part of this framework, natural language processing tools are applied to allow the development of a virtual assistant for the ramp-up process. This paper provides an overview of the current work in progress, which is part of a PhD research undertaken at the Intelligent Automation Centre at Loughborough University. It outlines the initial efforts and future steps that have been completed and are planned.