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Internet of Things

Machine Thinks, Machine Manages

Robots, ships, space vehicles – acatech and numerous other companies and research facilities present networked autonomous systems for various spheres of application.

06 Mar. 2017

Cars, trains, and ships find their destinations independently. Robots work hand in hand with humans. A new generation of autonomous systems is developing that solves complex tasks, makes decisions, learns, and responds to unforeseen events. These systems are networked on the Internet of Things and can contribute to mastering central economic and social problems – for example, by improving work conditions in manufacturing or by increasing road safety.

At the stand of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering ( acatech ) in the CeBIT venue "Internet of Things" it becomes clear what autonomous systems and the Internet of Things are able to do. The sample applications that can be seen at Stand B63 in Hall 12 range from mobility to production, all the way through to the exploration of inaccessible or hazardous environments.

The industrial robot FRANKA EMIKA, which, among other things, is able to assemble further copies of itself completely autonomously is one of the highlights of the exhibition stand. The system has a sensitive robotic arm with seven axes, which is equipped with torque sensors at all axes. Fraunhofer IOSB will also bring along autonomous vehicles. The institute will present an autonomous excavator that can retrieve hazardous substances or remove contaminated soils and the vehicle QUANJO TDS. QUANJO TDS is a flexible demonstration and development system for testing scalable, autonomous steering functions.

Machine learning represents a key technology for autonomous systems. Thus in cooperation with DFKI, acatech presents an online course on this topic ( A total of 33 scientists, corporate experts, developers and users provide guidance through the methods, tools, and fields of application of machine learning. Concrete sample applications provide an insight into the problems that can already be solved today with the help of machine learning.

Under the title "Assisted, Automated, Autonomous" Siemens Division Mobility demonstrates the future of rail transport systems. Together with Schunk, Siemens presents the possibilities that are offered by autonomous systems in manufacturing: On the basis of order-driven production it can be seen how autonomous decision-making and optimization function along the entire value added chain.

At the acatech exhibition stand SAP presented its Asset Intelligence Network, a business network on the basis of the SAP Cloud Platform with which device and plant data can be easily and cooperatively exchanged. The OFFIS Institute for Computer Science in Oldenburg conveys the current state of research on autonomous navigation at CeBIT. The institute shows the mobile shore-based control station of the research vessel Zuse, in which new learning decision-making systems and foresighted control engineering take over an increasing number of steering functions. Volkswagen AG and the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) cooperate together on the iMRK project (intelligent human robot collaboration). They developed a robot system that makes direct and close cooperation between humans and robots possible. Thanks to environment sensing using universal sensors, the system is able to carry out collision-free dual-arm manipulation in a divided human-robot workspace. The system is based on the modular and multi-vendor software architecture ROCK, which was developed at the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center. Control takes place intuitively by means of simple gestures.

Together with the University of Bremen, the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center will present two further robots at the trade exhibition. Thanks to its active chassis, the walking and driving rover SherpaTT is particularly suitable for rough terrain. Various sensors allow it to autonomously explore its environment; and with a robotic arm that is two meters in length it can manipulate objects in diverse manners. SherpaTT is also equipped with several electromechanical interfaces, with which it can adapt to different mission scenarios and transport additional payloads. The micro-rover Coyote III is also equipped with sensors for autonomous exploration and additional interfaces, which, for example, make it possible to dock a robotic arm. With the help of its star-shaped wheel design Coyote III even overcomes steep slopes. Both systems were able to prove their capabilities in the Martian-like desert landscape of Utah within the scope of the Field Trials Utah project (FT-Utah) at the end of the year 2016.

The demonstrator "Semantic Interoperability" from the German ZVEI - Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie (Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association) shows how the interaction of different trades and services can look in a smart home. How the products of different manufacturers and industries can be networked across system boundaries is demonstrated using several scenarios.