One of the bigger concerns about the National Robotics Initiative, and co-operative manufacturing in the US, is not technological. It's the problem of building legal, safety and insurance infrastructure necessary to free the manufacturing robots from their cages.
The insurance problems can probably be solved with enough money, but the legal problems will require some miserable growing pains for the industry to deploy whatever technological products the NRI produces.
In a bit of recent good news however the RIA has now announced that there is now a new ISO standard for industrial robot safety. It also reintroduces 'man-in-the-loop' into the manufacturing process. This along with a better risk assessment will help ensure that the technology developed can actually be used and make the inevitable lawsuits slightly less painful.
I wish everyone perusing a NRI grant the best of luck and I hope you can take the time to learn more about these important safety standards.