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Belgian research team wins KUKA Innovation Award

Posted on 03 May 2021 and read 333 times
Belgian research team wins KUKA Innovation AwardArtificial intelligence (AI) to automate demanding two-handed tasks - this is the idea that recently won a team of researchers from Leuven in Belgium the KUKA Innovation Award 2021 and a 20,000 euro prize.

The goal of Chorrobot from Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Flanders Make (Leuven) is to leverage AI in order to enhance the productivity of car manufacturers as well as small and medium-size enterprises by facilitating and deploying bi-manual robot manipulation tasks.

The concept enables users without expertise in robotics to demonstrate some aspects of the task and to intuitively specify other aspects via a graphical user interface.

This approach enables the commissioning of challenging bi-manual tasks – including assembly operations that involve non-rigid and non-fixed elements – as well as bi-manual inspection operations in unstructured environments.

An international jury selected the winner of the award during the Hannover Messe Digital Edition 2021 held last month.

In a virtual ceremony, Dr Kristina Wagner, vice president corporate research, presented the award. She said: “AI and machine learning, especially in combination with robotics, open up a wide range of new possibilities and new fields of application - so there is a lot of potential for KUKA. That is why this year’s KUKA Innovation Award was all about AI — we received impressive concepts from all over the world.”

After the preliminary round, five international teams were selected for the final, which was broadcast entirely digitally due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The finalists were provided with KUKA robots free-of-charge to implement their ideas and were accompanied by experienced KUKA experts throughout the competition.

KUKA first launched the competition in 2014 to promote and accelerate the transfer of technology from research to industry. All presentations can be found on the KUKA trade fair platform.