JOANNEUM RESEARCH as project partner in national key project MMAssist II

The institutes DIGITAL and ROBOTICS of JOANNEUM RESEARCH are part of the chosen Austrian syndicates which have received the surcharge for the national key project as part of the FTI-initiative of the FFG “Production of the Future”. The focus will be laid on the development of technologies that should support humans in the process of production.

The research project MMAssist II “Assistant systems in context of Human-Machine-Cooperation” will be promoted with overall approximately 4 million euro from the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology. Under the management of PROFACTOR, JOANNEUM RESEARCH pursues with 23 further project partners of the fields research & development as well as industry and service sector the goal to find an efficient production technology for the ideal utilization of resources and commodity, in order to construct a flexible production and therefore establish valuable products.

The institute DIGITAL will bring in their profound know-how within two fields. One emphasis will be on the investigation of the capability of speech interaction with machines and robots within an industrial environment. The second emphasis is placed on the recognition and shaping of the requirement of assistance through measurement and analysis of humane factors. These contain the extraction and interpretation of behavioral parameters like attention, emotion, concentration, stress etc.

The institute ROBOTICS is responsible for the analysis of assistant tasks regarding (physical) Safety and Security (non-physical aspects of security) to precociously discern safety-critical weak-spots out of a theoretical view. On the one hand, this involves the development of attack scenarios on the assistant system and the development of methods for the security-technical protection. On the other hand, ROBOTICS works on the lasting enhancement of the physical security of all employees. The base is built on knowledge gained from risk assessment based on assistant systems as well as the application-specific measurement of force and pressure.

Within the consortium, people are convinced that there must be found certain ways to create individualized products within a sellable price range to prove a global contestability. With the aid of assistant systems with cognitive characteristics the balancing act between mass and individuality should be solved. On the one hand this means that future assistant systems will take over monotonous and encumbering work tasks and help with the accomplishment of the increasing diversity of variants. On the other hand, before the implementation it has to be evaluated of what human beings are (in a justified or unjustified way) afraid of and which type of assistance will be accepted by humans. The synergy of human and machine is the central topic of future production environments. Hence, MMAssist II is occupied with the research and development of assistant systems for pioneering workplaces that are focused on humans. In further consequence, the optimized assistant systems will be experimentally implemented and evaluated in industrial environments to gain insight about the acceptance resp. the user experience during utilization. Thereby the goal will be to make the reduction of workload and the respective supporting functionality for employees measurable.

This project was established due to Industrie 4.0 with the aim to use this research to position Austria as an innovative and prospective industrial location on the international market. The top-class consortium consists of declared scientific experts in the field of human-machine communication as well as multifaceted project partners from producing corporations who enable the possibility to be able to evaluate the assistant solutions under real contextual conditions.