We are currently in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. A new technological and economic vision that propels us forward. But one thing still needs to be examined – how is this revolution affecting human lives and jobs.

This is especially vital for the manufacturing industry. With more and more automation, workers are asking themselves if they will be replaced by machines completely.

While Industry 4.0 was an initiative introduced by the German government in 2011 to promote smart manufacturing for the future, Industry 5.0 is an idea and a vision promoted by the European Union that aims to go beyond efficiency and productivity as the main goal.

Over the last ten years Industry 4.0 has been officially with us. It was mostly focused on digitalization, AI technologies, and the Industrial Internet of Things. Much less effort and focus have been given to issues of sustainability, and the effect of this revolution on people’s lives.

Industry 5.0 hopes to correct this.

What is Industry 5.0?

Let’s start by clearing something up. Industry 5.0 is not the term that describes the next industrial revolution, it’s not the fifth in line. Rather, Industry 5.0 describes a new outlook on how the industry can add value to society, and how it can be used to better our lives. It is an extension of Industry 4.0.

So what is Industry 5.0 precisely?

It is a vision of human-robot cooperation, co-working, and sustainability. A way of using smart manufacturing, automation, and robotics, not only to benefit the industry, but also the workers, and society as a whole.

But, in order to reach this vision, many companies still need to join Industry 4.0 and connect their industrial machines.

Are robots cheaper now?

First, there is one factor to consider that drives this dream forward – the fact that robots, for different purposes, are now cost-effective. The price of industrial robots has been on the decline over the last ten years. It went from about $46,000 in 2010 to $27,000 in 2017.

On the one hand, the industry is moving towards smaller, lightweight robots, the costs are continuing to go down. Manufacturers need less material to produce the robots, and they are easier to transport (which adds up to the lower costs).

On the other hand, in the past, manufacturing facilities had fenced options for robots – they were large, heavy, took up a lot of space on the production floor, and were not accessed by a lot of workers. These days companies have the option to use more affordable collaborative robots.

The average cobot (collaborative robot) costs around $24.000, while an average industrial robot price is between $50,000 and $80,000.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of collaborative robots in manufacturing:

  1. Easy to program
  2. More secure
  3. Easier to install and set up on the factory floor
  4. Flexibility in the human environment
  5. Lower integration costs
  6. Accessible to small and mid-sized companies
  7. Lower risk of accidents in the workplace

The mindset for adopting Industry 5.0 – a human-centered approach

Europe has the goal of becoming the planet’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. A sustainable economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve this goal, new technologies and new approaches to manufacturing need to be adopted.

The European Union has released an official report detailing the goals and missions of Industry 5.0. In the report, titled “Industry 5.0 – Towards a sustainable, humancentric and resilient European industry” you can find out:

  • What Industry 5.0 is.
  • What its role is in transitioning to a sustainable, human-centric, and resilient economy.
  • How it contributes to the top Commission priorities of the EU.

What is evident is that the whole report is focused on how technology can help our society, and how it can create a more sustainable business environment for the future. A human-centered approach to manufacturing and selling products and produce is the proposition here.

A reciprocal relationship between a human and a computer is at the heart of this kind of humanistic intelligence – the computer is not totally separate from the human, but it is rather a “second brain”. The same goes in reverse – the human is viewed as a peripheral for the computer.

Industry 5.0 solving real problems

The problems that Industry 5.0 can address are pollution, health care, sustainable manufacturing, power consumption and management, and more.

Just imagine, with the current technology, and the infrastructure of cities in place, we can successfully manage traffic flow better, enable efficient recycling programs, produce food locally, and add more energy sustainable power sources. The quality of life for everyone within this improved Industry 5.0 environment would grow to new heights. So, you see, it’s not just about creating new technologies, it’s about creating new ways to use them for a more humane society.a

Thanks to Industry 5.0 we are beginning to recognize how important it is to combine the creative skills of people with the precision and reliability of machines.

Zerynth-powered projects in Horizon 2020

Multiple Horizon 2020 projects carried out so far have proven the worth of Industry 5.0 (for both companies and individuals). As the report states “They develop solutions that render the production more sustainable, resilient, and  competitive on a long-term basis, and tackle challenges associated with beneficial human-machine interaction and skills matching.”

A large number of Horizon 2020 projects are addressing the connection and interaction between humans and robots (and cobots).


DIGIMAN4.0 (DIGItal MANufacturing Technologies for Zero-defect Industry 4.0 Production) is a framework program for research and innovation, funded by the Horizon 2020 initiative. The program was started in January 2019 and is planned to finish in December 2022.

The 3 main technological cornerstones of DIGIMAN4.0 are:

  • Precision manufacturing processes development
  • Digital manufacturing technologies and their integration into process chains
  • Industry 4.0 pilot production for zero-defect manufacturing


Planet4 (Practical Learning of Artificial Intelligence on the Edge for indusTry 4.0) is a Horizon 2020 project that enables knowledge transfer between academia and industry.

The project is primarily focused on the integration of AI technologies in Industry 4.0 applications, with its focus on machine learning, edge computing and industrial IoT.

In order to drive these ideas forward, we have designed a workshop, in collaboration with Planet4, and the University of Pisa. The workshop is planned to take place in October, and will have:

  • 1 hour of training for Industry 4.0 – introduction to the concept, current technologies, etc.
  • 1 hour of presentation of a methodology aimed at describing Industry 4.0 problems and giving the most effective solutions.

Stay tuned to our website to learn more about the workshop.


LINCOLN was a 36 month EU Horizon 2020 research project that was finished in September 2019. The project was focused on finding and researching innovative design methodologies and tools for the development of three types of marine vessels: a multi-platform boat, a patrol boat, and an EER vessel.

The main features of the Lincoln project are:

  • Highly configurable and customizable at hardware and firmware levels
  • On-edge weather forecasting algorithm developed in Python via the Zerynth embedded development environment
  • Ready for over-the-air (remote) firmware update via GSM connection

Using the 4ZeroBox we have built a Python programmable 32-bit gateway for the monitoring, management, and optimization of operational processes of marine vessels. The gateway had embedded sensors able to acquire navigation data (position, acceleration, velocity, etc.) and elaborate operational information for boat manufacturers and end-users.


The machines that we have now can only do what they are programmed to do. People, on the other hand, can adapt and change, and use their creative capabilities to bring forth new ideas and solutions.

By acknowledging the human factor as a crucial part, we can create a better, more sustainable society.

Furthermore, to get to Industry 5.0, it is important to approach it gradually. This is why industrial machine retrofitting is such a promising approach for bringing SMEs to the Industry 5.0 journey.

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About the Author: Daniele Mazzei

Daniele Mazzei
Daniele is the CPO and co-founder of Zerynth. His strong interest in the interaction between people and intelligent objects led him to co-found Zerynth and to design connected devices and Industrial IoT applications. After earning a PhD in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering, he is now an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Pisa.

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