The Center of Excellence in Logistics and IT is entering its third funding phase with a thematic focus: This year, the course is to be set for the establishment of a »Center for Safety, Security and Autonomous Systems in Logistics CeSaS«.
The implementation concept builds on the proven concept of research clans. »These interdisciplinary and cross-institutional research groups form our scientific content core,« says Dr. Michael Schmidt of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML, which is funding the performance center with 1.5 million euros in 2021. Four research clans – Autonomous Logistic Systems, Cognitive Ergonomics, Design of Sociotechnical Systems, and Machine Learning – will set their research priorities following on from previous work and taking into account the new thematic focus. The focus will be on solutions for ensuring the security – especially in the sense of safety – of autonomous logistic systems. One or more labs are assigned to each clan, for example a picking and an exoskeleton test center or the XR Lab for researching mixed reality applications. The first half of the funding period will focus in particular on establishing and expanding these research infrastructures.
Promoting acceptance of hybrid systems
The research topic of safety, security and privacy is particularly relevant in logistics and involves two opposing characteristics – high automation on the one hand and many manual activities (picking, sorting, packaging, etc.) on the other. Humans remain the focus here, and technology must be enabled to provide ideal support. With increasing digitalization and the need for data exchange between humans and autonomous systems, occupational safety, data security and privacy protection in the operational environment are becoming the focus of investigations. The goal is to promote the acceptance of hybrid systems consisting of humans and machines. Against this background, the scientific and technical prospects for success for industry-related research in the outlined performance area are excellent.
In addition to the technical-scientific work, scalable transfer packages are created in the research clans. »The further development of the existing transfer infrastructure is at the top of our agenda: our focus is on scaling the previous work into industrial application,« says Dr. Matthias Parlings from Fraunhofer IML, who is responsible for the transfer activities of the performance center. At the heart of the infrastructure is the new PACE laboratory for real-time data acquisition and analysis of autonomous logistics systems such as drones, automated guided vehicles.
Photo: Fraunhofer IML