Belgian research team wins KUKA Innovation Award

Augsburg-Artificial intelligence to automate demanding two-handed tasks – this is the idea that won a team of researchers from Leuven in Belgium the KUKA innovation competition worth 20,000 euros.

The goal of Chorrobot from Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Flanders Make@KU Leuven is to leverage artificial intelligence in order to enhance the productivity of car manufacturers as well as small and medium-sized enterprises by facilitating and expediting the deployment of bimanual robot manipulation tasks.

The concept enables users without extensive expertise in robotics to demonstrate some aspects of the task and to intuitively specify other aspects via a graphical user interface. This approach facilitates the commissioning of challenging bimanual tasks – including assembly operations that involve non-rigid and non-fixed elements – as well as bimanual inspection operations in unstructured environments.

Award ceremony via video stream

An international jury selected the winner of the award during Hannover Messe 2021. In a virtual ceremony, Dr. Kristina Wagner, Vice President Corporate Research, presented the award. “AI and machine learning, especially in combination with robotics, open up a wide range of new possibilities and new fields of application – so there’s a lot of potential for KUKA. That’s why this year’s KUKA Innovation Award was all about artificial intelligence.

After the preliminary round, five international teams were in the finals of the competition, 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.

The teams presented their applications digitally at the virtual Hannover Messe. All presentations can be found on the KUKA trade fair platform kuka-iimotion.com.

About the KUKA Innovation Award

In 2014, KUKA launched the innovation competition, focusing on different technologies in each case. The aim of the award is to promote and accelerate the transfer of technology from research to industry.

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