The Automation and Digitalization research project has been launched in collaboration with the Technische Universität München (TUM), the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC). Within the alliance, researchers will cooperate on software and technologies for industrial automation and digitalization as well as on topics such as the Internet of Things, cloud solutions, IT security and smart data – that is, the development of new applications based on the intelligent analysis of large amounts of data.
At the same time, as part of its new company-wide strategy, Siemens is realigning its research activities in the innovation fields of automation, digitalization and electrification with the aim of further strengthening its position as technology leader in these areas.
The activities of the Automation and Digitalization Campus will be located primarily in Munich, which in a recent study by the EU Commission was named Europe’s leading IT Lighthouse. During the further course of the collaboration, research results will be brought to market readiness and incorporated into the Siemens portfolio. The research alliance engages in international public-sector projects which are open to partners worldwide, making it highly attractive for companies as well as universities and research institutes. Comprehensive doctoral and post-doctoral programs that will, for example, enable up to 100 doctoral candidates to pursue their studies while collaborating on research are planned as well. The campus will thus make a major contribution to strengthening Germany as a science and business location.
“Today’s agreement will enable Siemens to strategically foster high-quality German research in fields that will be decisive for gaining a competitive edge in the future,” said Klaus Helmrich, Siemens’ Chief Technology Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer. “Automation and digitalization offer enormous opportunities for a wide range of industries – from autonomous machines to the intelligent assessment of large amounts of data. Our goal is to seize these opportunities and transform them into competitive advantages for German industry.” Siemens intends to invest an amount in the double-digit million-euro range over the next three years.
“The digital revolution has begun fundamentally changing all aspects of economic activity and life. That’s where we’re called upon – with our comprehensive range of technology knowhow, which we’ve been systematically expanding for a long time. In the context of digitalization, engineers are becoming key players in society,” stated TUM President Prof. Dr. Wolfgang A. Herrmann.
“The research alliance for the digital revolution is enabling the upheavals and opportunities arising from automation and digitalization to be explored and actively shaped at the interface of industry and science. As part of this alliance, the LMU will leverage its expertise to help drive innovation and identify potential for groundbreaking future technologies,” noted LMU President Prof. Dr. Bernd Huber.
“Industry 4.0 will open up factories to the Internet of Things. The DFKI has helped lay the scientific basis for Industry 4.0. Our Smart Factory was the first to demonstrate the concept’s feasibility in the laboratory,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, CEO of the DFKI and one of the founding fathers of Industry 4.0. “Only by working together with leading industry partners like Siemens will it now be possible to create the prerequisites for Industry 4.0’s implementation in day-to-day factory processes and make Germany a leading provider of digitalization for manufacturing.”
“German industry won’t open itself widely to digitalization unless it receives reliable and robust security solutions that enable it to protect innovation- and competition-critical data (production data, product data, maintenance data, customer data, etc.). It’s necessary to protect such data from tampering and unauthorized sharing. Requirements here include trustworthy sensors, tamper-resistant embedded components, secure data transport and secure platforms on which data can be securely exchanged. The Fraunhofer AISEC would like to contribute its IT security expertise to the Campus in order to develop secure solutions for industry,” said Prof. Dr. Claudia Eckert, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC).
The first round of planned research topics will include autonomous robots that interact closely with human beings – for example, in the highly flexible factories of the future. Plans also call for modeling production processes and robots with the help of “digital twins” and developing a uniform language for inter-machine communication. In addition, algorithms for the smart analysis of large amounts of data will be investigated to determine how this data can be used, among other things, for smart grids, industrial automation, smart cities and future healthcare systems. Interest will also be focused on self-managed cloud services – that is, self-configuring, self-optimizing, self-healing and self-protecting cloud services – and, of course, on IT security.
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