ZUFFENHAUSEN, Germany—Porsche is employing a six-axis collaborative robot from Comau on its assembly line here.

People and robots will cooperate to build car bodies at the factory, says Jens Thomer, the director of vehicle project and factory structure planning. The new robot’s metal muscles wear a sensitive skin. Using capacitive sensing, the skin can feel when a person is nearby or makes contact. The robot slows when it senses it’s close to a worker and stops if they touch.

While the robot handles heavy lifting, its human workmate can simultaneously take on tasks that demand dexterity, flexibility and intelligence. The first job for the sensitive-skin robot will be helping assemble the rear floor section of the body of Porsche’s new 911 sports car.

“Just one station, for now,” says Thomer, but the technology is especially attractive to Porsche and is sure to become more widely used.