A Closer Look at the NBC 'Knight Rider' Robots

Sep 2, 2008

Two refurbished Robots.com robots were used as grease monkeys in KITT's high-tech garage. One was named Katie and the other Lisa, they were Fanuc ARC Mate 100i robots with 6 axes of motion and a 6 kg payload. The ARC Mate 100i robots are known for their speed, accuracy, and compact build and were starts in this episode.


NBC’s Knight Rid­er T.V. show takes an auto­mat­ed approach to mechan­ic work.

Two recon­di­tioned Robots​.com robots act as intel­li­gent grease mon­keys in KIT­T’s high-tech garage. Named Katie and Lisa by NBC, the robots scan KITT for dam­ages, and even inter­act with the human actors around them.

Want to learn more about Katie and Lisa? Here’s the scoop.

What Kind of Robots Are They?
The Knight Rid­er robots are Fanuc ARC Mate 100i mod­els. They are ver­sa­tile, stan­dard indus­tri­al robots with 6 axes (joints) of motion. They can lift up to 6kg, reach as far as1373mm, and install any­where — floor, wall, upside-down, and at an angle.

Fanuc ARC Mate 100i robots are known for their speed, accu­ra­cy, and com­pact build. Act­ing is def­i­nite­ly not a nor­mal line of work for these robots. Instead, they per­form a vari­ety of jobs, includ­ing arc weld­ing and mate­r­i­al han­dling, often in fac­to­ry set­tings. See them in action: ARC Mate 100i robots welding.

Get­ting the Knight Rid­er Robots Ready:
Robots​.com’ main spe­cial­ty is recon­di­tion­ing. The com­pa­ny takes refur­bished robots and fix­es, cleans, and inte­grates them into robot sys­tems. The Knight Rid­er robots received the same treat­ment. Before the robots shipped to a film­ing stu­dio in Cal­i­for­nia, a team of Robots​.com tech­ni­cians made sure the robots were cleaned, reworked, test­ed, and repainted.

Out of Con­text: Indus­tri­al Robots on Film
One change had to be made before Katie and Lisa were deemed stage-ready. Each robot is pow­ered by a con­troller — a large, rec­tan­gu­lar cab­i­net that hous­es the brains of the robot.
The con­troller need­ed to be dead silent,” Robots​.com’ shop man­ag­er Matt Schrift explained. But the fans are there for a rea­son. They’re part of the nor­mal noise the con­troller makes.“
The solu­tion? A longer cable was pro­vid­ed so the con­trollers could be placed fur­ther away from the robots. 

Final Step: Robot Train­ing
Robot tech­ni­cian Robert Edens Jr. was respon­si­ble for train­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from NBC’s set crew at Robots​.com’ Mar­i­on facil­i­ty. Edens taught the NBC set tech­ni­cian about the robots’ safe­ty fea­tures and how to direct their move­ments. To sim­u­late KITT, Edens used a box and cart.

The sec­ond install­ment of NBC’s Knight Rid­er T.V. show airs tonight, Wednes­day, Octo­ber 1 at 8/​7c.

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Robots​.com rep­re­sen­ta­tives online or at 8777626881.

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