Top robotics research institutions and labs in Germany

The robotics and automation (R&A) industry in Germany has enjoyed unprecedented success over the last decade. The global robotics hub, Germany, is home to leading players from all market segments. With a workforce of more than 52,000 employees, the industry’s turnover has more than quadrupled since the mid-1990s.

Germany installed nearly two industrial robots per 1,000 workers in 1994, four times the number in the US. By 2014, German workers had 7.6 robots per thousand, compared to 1.6 in the US. In 2014, 60–100 additional robots were installed per thousand workers in the country’s thriving automotive industry, compared to 1994.

The German robotics and automation sector reached a total turnover of 15 billion euros in 2018, which represents a 4% growth, according to the VDMA. The study shows that the worldwide demand for robotics and automation technologies from Germany remains high. The VDMA predicts that sales in 2019 will increase by 2 to 5% to sales of somewhere in the 15.3 to the 15.7-billion-euro range. It is expected that more than EUR 2.6 billion (approximately US$3.14 million) will be invested in Industry 4.0 in Germany through to 2020.

In the previous post, we presented some of the top robotics research institutions and labs in Hungary. Today, we will explore the top robotics research institutions and labs in Germany.

1. Chair for Robotics and Embedded Systems – Bayreuth University

The chair for Applied Computer Science III (Robotics and Embedded Systems) at the Institute for Computer Science (Bayreuth University) deals with robots as information processing systems that can capture, modify and interact with their environments. Founded by Prof. Dr. Dominik Henrich in 2003, the chair focuses on human-robot cooperation and combines their strengths synergistically, using camera-based surveillance, collision detection, motion planning, and intention recognition.

Another focus is the intuitive programming of robots. The goal is to reduce the high programming effort and to make the robot without experts. For this, the chair uses simple sensor integration, programming by demonstration, and imperative and declarative approaches. In teaching, the chair covers robotics, computer vision, pattern recognition, embedded systems, and operating systems in the form of lectures, tutorials, internships, projects, and seminars.

2. BIBA – Bremer Institut für Produktion

The BIBA is a scientific engineering research institute that conducts research, develops technical and organizational solutions for production and logistics systems, and applies them realistically in commercial and industrial companies of all branches, sizes, and nationalities.

Intelligent Production and Logistics Systems (IPS) research department develops innovative solutions for the automation of production and logistics processes. These include two different research areas – the design of robotic systems and sensor data analysis from 2D/3D computer vision and wireless technologies.

BIBA conceives and develops innovative, flexible, and scalable solutions for robotics and automation, which exceed present production applications and be adopted in complicated and non-standardized logistic processes. The Information and Communication Technologies in Production (IKAP) research unit develops methods and tools to support cooperative, inter-organizational enterprise networks.

3. Applied Informatics Group (AGAI) – Bielefeld University

The Applied Informatics Group (AGAI) at Bielefeld University is an interdisciplinary research group of more than 50 senior researchers and Ph.D. students. It focuses on various topics in applied informatics and robotics such as Pattern Recognition, Computer Vision, Social Robotics, Speech and Dialog Systems, Cognitive Developmental Robotics, Human-Inspired Memory, Evaluation of Cognitive Systems, User Studies for Human-Robot Interaction, Software Architecture, Software Engineering, and Automation. Some of the robotic systems developed fully or partially by AGAI include BIRON, the Bielefeld Robot Companion, BARTHOC and BARTHOC Jr., two highly anthropomorphic robot torsos, Flobi, the social robot head, iCub, and Nao.

4. Neuroinformatics Group – Bielefeld University

The Neuroinformatics Group at Bielefeld University explores the neural networks to understand the working principles of movement control and patterns in interaction. Major research lines in the group focus on hand-eye coordination, bimanual coordination, the role of touch for guiding motion, and the recognition of objects and object states.

For this, it uses several methods, including neural networks, machine learning, computer vision, dynamical systems, and control, embracing topics, such as data mining, brain-machine interfaces, evolutionary computation, complex systems integration, and drawing cross-disciplinary inspiration from brain science, psychology, and linguistics.

The group also works with other robotics groups and cognitive scientists to understand how humans grasp and manipulate objects. They contribute databases to enable new routes to a systematic analysis of such actions and devise robot algorithms that replicate manual skills for multi-fingered robot hands.

They explore intelligent interfaces exploiting touch and haptics, such as active, tangible objects for highly intuitive, directly manipulable interfaces. They study interfaces based on (non-invasively) recorded brain signals to achieve “thought control” of robots or VR environments. The large part of the research is tied together by an overarching interest in adaptive and self-organizing systems and machine learning approaches for their realization.

5. Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) – Bielefeld University

The Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) develops technical systems intuitive and easy to operate for human users. Founded in 2007 as one of 37 clusters of excellence within the highly competitive framework of the German Excellence Initiative, CITEC mainly focuses on key areas of cognitive interaction: Motion intelligence, Attentive systems, Situated communication, and Memory, and learning. It brings together the expertise of more than 30 research groups from five Faculties: Biology, Linguistics, and Literary Studies, Physics, Psychology and Sports Science, and from the Faculty of Technology.

CITEC cooperates with several strategic partners to cover major cognitive interaction technology application fields and address societal challenges from demographic change. To create a secure link between the research and education of young scientists and engineers, CITEC has an integrated Graduate School with more than 80 students. A Virtual Faculty of more than 40 internationally leading researchers world-wide is part of CITEC’s network into the research community and a substantial factor in connecting it to the CITEC scientists and students with leading institutions around the globe.

6. Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) – Bielefeld University

Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) at Bielefeld University, founded in 2007, is a central scientific institute to promote the potential of learning and cognitive technology through excellence in research and transfer in joint industrial projects. It participates in several FP7-EU research projects, research cooperations with partners from Japan and North America, as well as collaborations with industrial partners.

CoR-Lab aims to unlock the potential of learning and cognitive technology in East-Westphalia and Lippe (OWL) in cooperation with the regional industry. The institute helps enterprises increase their competitive abilities through joint workshops, R&D projects, and networking. CoR-Lab’s research areas include artificial cognition, computer vision, neural networks, and machine learning, and human-robot interaction.

7. Intelligent Robots Laboratory – Bundeswehr University Munich

Intelligent Robots Laboratory at the Bundeswehr University Munich aims to understand the basics of machine vision, autonomy, and intelligence of technical systems. The main research topics include architecture and realization of robot vision systems, motion stereo for accurate range measurement and spatial interpretation of image sequences, calibration-free robots, object- and behavior-oriented stereo vision as a basis for the control of such robots by the direct transition from sensor data to motor control commands, the system architecture for behavior-based mobile robots, recognition of dynamically changing situations in real-time as the basis for behavior selection by robots and man-machine-communication, machine learning, e.g., for object recognition, motion control, and knowledge acquisition for navigation and interaction with humans, integration of very complex robotic systems, such as humanoid robot HERMES and dependability and long-term tests of complex robotic systems.

8. Collaborative Center for Applied Research on Service Robotics (ZAFH)

Collaborative Center for Applied Research on Service Robotics (ZAFH) aims to facilitate the development of autonomous mobile service robots and to make another step towards intelligent adaptive and robust systems. Its focus is on tools for systematic engineering of service robotic applications and healthy and efficient key functionalities and components.

ZAFH contributes to the following topics: model-driven software development for robotics, resource-aware SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), learning from demonstration for manipulation tasks, task-nets for context and situation-aware task execution, the probabilistic fusion of multiple algorithms for object recognition, anytime algorithms for object recognition, active object recognition with information-driven sensor placement and safety properties.

9. Laboratory of Robotics and Automation – Democritus University of Thrace

The Robotics and Cognitive Systems at the Department of Production and Management Engineering at the Democritus University of Thrace performs and promotes research in robotics for industrial and service applications and industrial automation. The group utilizes state of the art tools to expand the scientific and technological front in research areas including robotics, artificial vision, intelligent systems, and pattern recognition.

10. DFKI – German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence

The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Berlin is the world’s largest research center in Artificial Intelligence. The DFKI Robotics Innovation Center designs and realizes intelligent robots for a variety of fields of application, such as underwater, space, SAR (Search and Rescue) and security robotics, logistics, production, and consumer (LPC), cognitive robotics, e-mobility, and rehabilitation robotics. The focus lies on a rapid transfer of results of basic research into real-world applications.

The team benefits from interdisciplinary cooperation: computer scientists and design engineers meet biologists, mathematicians, computer linguists, industrial designers, electro engineers, physicists, and psychologists. Currently, a staff of about 100 employees from all over the world works in research and development. Over 50 student assistants support the individual projects that include RIMRES (Reconfigurable Integrated Multi-Robot Exploration System), EurEx (Europa-Explorer), IMMI (Intelligent Man-Machine Interface Adaptive Brain-reading for assistive robotics), and Capio (Dual-arm exoskeleton).

11. Institute of Production Systems – Dortmund University of Technology

The Institute of Production Systems focuses on research and development of technical and socio-technical systems. Besides the design of work systems and automation, fields of action are systems engineering, lean production, digital factory, industrial robotics and service robotics, industrial assembly, labor and time studies, and human-machine interaction.

12. Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA)

Fraunhofer IPA is one of the largest research institutes within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, which is the largest applied research organization in Europe. Finding solutions to organizational and technological challenges in industrial and non-industrial automation is the key focus of the research and development work carried out at Fraunhofer IPA. The activities conducted by the Robotic Systems Department encompass all areas connected with robot deployment and automatable production processes, as well as the development of robotic systems and their key components. Many of Fraunhofer IPA’s technologies and solutions have already been approved in daily use applications.

In service robotics, advanced software libraries have e.g., been developed for real-time 3D environment perception as well as for mobile robot navigation and manipulation in dynamic everyday environments. Fraunhofer IPA is well known for the development of highly sophisticated hardware platforms, such as the robotic home assistant Care-O-bot®, the industrial mobile manipulation platform rob@work, and three entertainment robots, which, have been running freely among visitors of the Museum für Kommunikation in Berlin for more than 15 years. In industrial robotics, Fraunhofer IPA develops new applications and solutions in the areas of fast and intuitive programming, material flow, machining with robots, safe human-robot cooperation, and many other areas.

13. Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (IFF)

The Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF is a research institute in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the largest applied research organization in Europe. The Fraunhofer IFF researches and develops innovative and custom solutions in the fields of robotics and automation, logistics, process, and plant engineering and digital engineering. The Robotics Business Unit specializes in the development of new systems and technologies for human-robot interaction, assistive robotics, safe, collaborative robot systems, and service robots for inspection, cleaning, and maintenance.

14. Robotics for Risky Interventions – Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel-Institute Research Company (FWBI)

The Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel-Institute Research Company (FWBI) is a registered non-profit association (gGmbH) located in Bremen (Germany) since 1997. The FWBI unites professors from the University of Bremen, aiming for applied research projects in cooperation with other research facilities (universities) and industrial partners. The industrial partners are recruited mainly from small and medium-sized enterprises, using grants from national or international funding organizations. In addition to applied research projects, FWBI is specialized in the transfer of scientific results to industry.

15. Soft-Robotics Group – Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel-Institute Research Company (FWBI)

The soft-robotics group at Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel-Institute Research Company (FWBI) focuses on the development and control of robotic devices that work in immediate proximity or direct contact with humans. The development is mainly based on a specific type of soft fluidic actuators – actuators with rotary elastic chambers (REC-actuators). Combining these lightweight, natural compliant actuators with proper control strategies allows for safe interaction between humans and robots. The main topics of research include soft actuators design, advanced pressure control algorithms, modeling & control of soft actuators & robots, human-robot interaction control strategies, detection of human-robot interaction, and man-machine interface with audiovisual feedback.

16. Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics (RMC) – German Aerospace Center (DLR)

DLR is Germany’s national research center for aeronautics and space. Its extensive research and development work in space aeronautics, transportation, energy, defense, and security research is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. As Germany’s Space Agency, the German federal government has given DLR responsibility for the planning and implementation of the German space program as well as international representation of Germany’s interests.

The broad technological base of the Robotics and Mechatronics Centre (RMC), located at Oberpfaffenhofen and Berlin, is mechatronics and computer science (software) to create “intelligent mechanisms” culminating in robots that interact intelligently with their environment. Consequently, the work of the institute is focused on interdisciplinary design, optimization, and realistic simulation activities and also on the implementation of complex mechatronic systems and the appropriate man-machine interfaces. The center is regarded internationally as the leading institution for applied robotics research focused on robotics in space (ESA Reference Lab).

One of the key goals is the development of mobile and roving robonauts moving on planetary surfaces in support of the astronauts at work in space (robotic servicing and exploration). The development of DLR’s lightweight robot and the multi-fingered hands are the results of this approach. It helped DLR’s “soft robotics “concept to a breakthrough as a new important method for realizing human/robot interactions. The two-arm mobile JUSTIN robot became a trademark of DLR’s robotics research.

17. Mobile Systems Laboratory – Harz University of Applied Sciences

In the Mobile Systems Laboratory at the Harz University of Applied Sciences, the research covers the fields of artificial intelligence, multi-robot systems, as well as image and knowledge processing.

In the beginning, in 2003, the focus was on deductive specification and analysis of multi-agent systems for the RoboCup, based on hierarchical state machines and hybrid automata (HHA). As hardware, robots of type Sony Aibo were used. The corresponding team named Harzer Rollers participated in the annual German Open RoboCup competitions and won the third prize in Hannover in 2008. Since 2009 flying robots with four or eight propellers, i.e., multicopters were used in research and also education. For this, the models are designed to fly autonomously and also accomplish tasks in a team. The problem of semantic object recognition and multi-sensor platforms are addressed in this context.

The research and development activities include artificial intelligence, multi-agent technologies, mobile robots, robot team behavior modeling, knowledge processing and reasoning, and computer vision.

18. Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences II – Humboldt University Berlin

The Research Group “Cognitive Robotics“ works on extracting intelligent behavior principles in natural systems and transferring them onto artificial systems. Embodiment plays a major role since intelligence can only develop through the interaction of an agent with its environment. Through such actions, an autonomous agent can directly influence its sensory perception. The research areas and topics include sensorimotor Interaction in Humanoid Robots, autonomous flying robots, bio-inspired Navigation Strategies, and Mobile Sensor Nodes.

19. Neuroinformatics and Cognitive Robotics Lab (NEUROB) – Ilmenau University of Technology

The research of the lab aims to develop behavior-oriented machine intelligence based on bio-inspired information processing and learning techniques. One main focus is the evolution and organization of navigation and interaction behaviors in actively learning multi-modal human-robot systems.

The lab focuses on the applications of interactive mobile assistance and guidance robots for public environments (Shopping centers, airports, museums, authorities, etc.), user-adaptive social robots for home assistance in context of demographic change, intelligent and adaptive video surveillance systems and actively learning and self-optimizing control for large-scale industrial combustion processes.

20. Humanoids and Intelligence Systems Lab (HIS) – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

The Humanoids and Intelligence Systems Lab explores machine learning, planning, and perception for autonomous systems, focusing on humanoid service robots, cognitive automobiles, and computer-assisted surgery. The key areas of research are Programming by Demonstration (PbD) of autonomous service as well as industrial robots, situation awareness, and probabilistic decision making for both service robots as well as automobiles and cognitive support for minimally invasive surgery.

21. Human-Robot Interaction Group – Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

The Human-Robot Interaction group aims to study novel ways to interface humans with robots, i.e., autonomous machines that can sense the environment, reason about it, and take actions to perform some tasks. The accepted vision guides these efforts that in the future, humans and robots will seamlessly cooperate in shared or remote spaces, thus becoming an integral part of our daily life.

For instance, robots are expected to relieve us from monotonous and physically demanding work in industrial settings, or help humans in dealing with complex/dangerous tasks, thus augmenting their capabilities. This research group tries to address these challenges from an engineering/ computer science point of view. The focus is mainly on (1.) how to empower robots with the needed autonomy to facilitate the interaction with the human side for accomplishing some shared task, and (2.) how to allow a human user to effectively be in control of a robot(s) while performing a task.

22. Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Autonomous Motion (Stefan Schaal) at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems has its focus on research in intelligent systems that can move, perceive, and learn from experiences. The group is interested in understanding how autonomous movement systems can bootstrap themselves into competent behavior by starting from a relatively simple set of algorithms and pre-structuring and learning from interacting with the environment. New learning processes are developed in the Empirical Inference (Bernhard Schölkopf) department, which can detect structures in experimental data. These include, for example, algorithms for pattern recognition, regression, density estimates, novelty detection, and feature selection.

23. Institute of Computer Science – Osnabrück University

Research of the Knowledge-Based Systems (KBS) group focuses on methods and algorithms for controlling embedded agents to acquire, reason in, and maintain symbolic knowledge about the world to achieve purposeful and goal-directed behavior in the current context so by computation on-line and on-board the agents.

Regarding environment sensing, the focus is on 3D sensor data, such as point clouds, and methods and algorithms for efficient handling and semantic interpretation. They consider applications of the group’s research topics in various areas. Service robots are an obvious choice. Besides, they are transferring the robotics motivated results in more mundane application settings, such as machines in agriculture and logistics, and handling 3D data in production.

24. Autonomous Robotics Group – Ruhr University Bochum

The Autonomous Robotics Group is part of the Institute for Neural computation, which investigates how organisms and their nervous systems solve fundamental problems of information processing. Artificial autonomous systems are confronted with these same problems. The goal is to understand the organizational principles through which nervous systems solve these problems and form them into new solutions to problems of information processing in technical systems.

25. Robotics and Biology Laboratory – Technical University of Berlin

Research activities in the Robotics and Biology Laboratory are concerned with the creation of autonomous robotic systems that can autonomously achieve the task in everyday environments, and the advancement of computational structural biology that incorporate insights and techniques from robotics, robot motion planning, machine learning, and AI.

26. Institute for Robotics and Process Control (iRP) – Technical University of Braunschweig

Since 1986, the institute has been grown steadily due to the involvement in many industrial and academia funded projects. Today the institute has a well-equipped lab with several experimental robot work cells and, therefore, a first-class work environment for successful research and teaching. Researchers, technicians, and students are working in the following research areas: Industrial Robotics, Computer Vision, Medical Robotics, and Mobile Robotics.

27. Simulation, Systems Optimization, and Robotics Group – Technical University of Darmstadt

The main focus in research and teaching is on simulation-based optimization and control and robotics. For example, the group investigates the efficient numerical optimal control of nonlinear dynamic processes (as motor vehicles, multi-joint robots, and human motions) with continuous or hybrid discrete-continuous control and state variables. Other search areas are humanoid and four-legged robots, and biologically inspired robots (BioRob, BioBiped).

28. Lauflabor Locomotion Lab – Technical University of Darmstadt

The main focus of Lauflabor Locomotion Lab at the Technical University of Darmstadt is developing models on human and animal locomotion at increasing complexity levels and transferring the identified concepts to robotic platforms for demonstration and validation. This interplay of different research methods (experiments, models, and robot platforms) aims to advance the understanding of how animals and humans move.

29. Intelligent Autonomous Systems Lab – Technical University of Darmstadt

Intelligent Autonomous Systems Lab at the Technical University of Darmstadt aims at research and teaching lies on the development of machine learning approaches for robotics and biomimetic systems. In this context, they investigate efficient automatic programming of robots with a mixture of imitation and self-improvement, develop novel learning algorithms for motor primitives, complex motor skills, and robot grasping, etc., as well as brain robot interfaces.

30. Department of Computer Science, Robotics and Embedded Systems – Technische Universität München

The department of Computer Science, Robotics and Embedded Systems at the Technische Universität München focuses on systematic research on human-robot interaction, service robotics, integration of speech, language, vision, and action; programming service robots, medical robotics, cognitive robotics, etc. The department runs several research projects, including the MYOROBOTICS project, ECCEROBOT (Embodied Cognition in a Compliantly Engineered Robot), JAST (Joint-Action Science and Technology), and ECHORD (European Clearing House for Open Robotics Development).

31. Institute of Automatic Control Engineering – Technische Universität München

The Institute of Automatic Control Engineering at the Technische Universität München was founded in 1961, and this is one of the oldest of its kind in Germany. Research and development at the institute are focused on novel control methods for complex nonlinear hybrid dynamical systems. Theoretical results are transferred into robotic and biomechatronic application fields. A major characteristic of most applications is a close interaction between human users and technical systems. On the basis of the research results, the institute focuses on applications in these areas: high fidelity telepresence and tele action, autonomous systems in human environments, dynamic human-robot interaction, multi-robot systems, and biomimetic systems.

32. Institute for Cognitive Systems – Technische Universität München

The Institute for Cognitive Systems at the Technische Universität München deals with the fundamental understanding and creation of cognitive systems. The research interests fall in line with the notion of “Understanding through Creating.” Its key research areas are artificial robotic skin, biologically inspired object recognition, compliant manipulation, cognitive architectures, humanoid cognitive-communication, multi-modal tactile sensors, neural-based mechanisms for learning, reusable electronics, advanced actuators, and social robotics.

33. Realtime Systems and Autonomous Robots – Ulm University of Applied Sciences

This lab pools education, development, and research activities in real-time systems and autonomous robots. Comprehensive lab equipment ranges from various real-time operating systems and development tools over embedded target systems to state-of-the-art robot systems (like P3DX, RMP50, Katana, UR Manipulator) and sensors (PMD, Kinect, laser rangers, vision).

The field of activity comprises principles, methods, and applications of real-time systems, analysis, and guarantees for real-time systems, design, and implementation of real-time and embedded systems. Aspects of complex distributed systems with resource constraints, probabilistic sensor data processing & sensor data fusion and systems integration under real-world conditions are addressed mainly in the domain of autonomous service robotic systems.

Currently, a major focus of the lab’s research activities is on model-driven software development for sensorimotor systems (separation of roles, separation of concerns) and on fully integrated service robotic systems: model-driven software development for robotics, resource-aware SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) and fully-integrated robotics real-world scenarios.

34. Institute for Computer Science VI – University of Bonn

The Autonomous Intelligent Systems Group at the Institute for Computer Science VI at the University of Bonn researches cognitive robotics, computer vision, and machine learning. The goal is to create intelligent robot systems capable of interacting with the complexities of the real world. The group has extensive experience in developing perception systems for robots, including learning object-class segmentation of images, object recognition and 3D modeling of objects or mapping of environments using RGB-D cameras.

The group also has significant experience in learning for control and planning for robot navigation and object manipulation. In the ECHORD experiment, ActReMa that the University of Bonn coordinates, for example, the group is planning grasping motions for bin-picking of unordered objects. The Autonomous Intelligent Systems Group developed the humanoid soccer robots of team NimbRo, which won many international RoboCup competitions. The lab also investigates intuitive multimodal human-robot interaction, mobile manipulation, as well as autonomous flying robots (UAVs). The group developed the cognitive service robots Dynamaid and Cosero, which competed with great success at the international RoboCup competitions, winning the last two.

35. Institute of Automation (IAT) – University of Bremen

The main research areas of the robotics group of the Institute of Automation (IAT) are assistive and rehabilitation robotics. Since 1997, researchers have been developing the assistive robot FRIEND for supporting independent living of persons who have chronic or degenerative limitations in motor abilities, such as the severely disabled and the elderly. After three evolution steps, the robotic system FRIEND is now able to support end-users in all-day-living (ADL) and professional life activities, such as work in a library. The IAT research and development are characterized by a human-centered approach and focus on the following main components for assistive and rehabilitation robotic systems.

36. Autonomous Intelligent Systems Lab – University of Freiburg

In the Laboratory for Autonomous Intelligent Systems at the University of Freiburg, the research is focused on autonomous mobile robots that can operate in their environment over long periods robustly. The lab has developed a series of innovative probabilistic approaches that cover different aspects, including localization, map-building, SLAM, path-planning, and exploration.

37. Hannover Centre for Mechatronics (MZH) – University of Hannover

The Hannover Centre for Mechatronics (MZH) is an interdisciplinary research center of the Leibniz Universität Hannover. Funded by 14 institutes of the Faculties of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as well as of Mechanical Engineering, the MZH concentrates mechatronic competencies in research and education. Current activities include medical engineering, production engineering, robotics, and automotive mechatronics.

38. Interdisciplinary Center of Scientific Computing (IWR) – University of Heidelberg

The Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR) is a central research unit of the University of Heidelberg that promotes interdisciplinary research in mathematical and computational methods in science and technology. The Optimization in Robotics and Biomechanics group (ORB) focuses on the development and application of mathematical models and optimization techniques for robotics, in particular humanoid and legged robots, and for humans, studying mechanics and control aspects of motions as well as cognitive processes.

39. Robotics Research Lab – University of Kaiserslautern

The Robotics Research Lab at the University of Kaiserslautern researches various areas of robotics, focusing on autonomous off-road robots, human-robot interaction, and framework development. Approximately 20 researchers have set the goal of developing innovative algorithms and integrating them into real systems that can operate in difficult environments. This is made possible by investigating novel development and analysis techniques that can handle complex systems. The Robotics Research Lab is a member of the “Zentrum für Nutzfahrzeugtechnologie” (Centre for Commercial Vehicle Technology) of the University of Kaiserslautern.

40. Institute for Robotics and Cognitive Systems – University of Lübeck

The institute of robotics and cognitive systems at the University of Lübeck works in medical robotics. The goal of the research is to develop advanced robotic systems for surgery that allow new surgical procedures that are highly economical and precise. This constitutes both new methods for planning robotic surgeries, delivering robotic surgery under real-time tracking of respiration and pulsation, and basic imaging technologies for navigation. The group has developed the respiration tracking system and the planning system in the Cyberknife Robotic Radiosurgery System, which is now installed in more than 200 clinics world-wide.

41. Institute of Computer Engineering (ITI) – University of Lübeck

The Institute of Computer Engineering (ITI) of the University of Lübeck deals with the architecture of hardware and software systems as well as their prototypical implementation and evaluation. Research focuses mainly on mobile autonomous robots, cyber-physical systems, and adaptive digital systems in SoCs (System-on-Chip). Current projects are connected with both basic research and applications in the areas of medicine, environmental monitoring, and industrial automation. One important area of research at ITI is Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for monitoring tasks in shallow waters like lakes, harbors, or the Baltic Sea. Other research areas are biologically inspired robots and rehabilitation robots.

42. Microrobotics and Control Engineering Division (AMIR) – University of Oldenburg

The Microrobotics and Control Engineering Division (AMIR) at the University of Oldenburg aims to develop automated nanomanipulation approaches to address high throughput fabrication and characterization of micro- and nanosystems. The group investigates application-specific nano handling strategies like sensing technologies, advanced control approaches, new nano handling robots and tools, especially the automated nano handling inside a scanning electron microscope (SEM), and the use of an atomic force microscope (AFM) as a nanorobot.

43. Department of Neural Information Processing – University of Ulm

The department of Neural Information Processing at the University of Ulm develops a new generation of embodied agents that can learn and develop autonomously (without human intervention) from the physical world. This agent will continually place itself in situations that contain new learnable skills to advance its knowledge in an open-ended way rather than being programmed to solve a particular task.

The results might trigger significant breakthroughs in creating true autonomous agents that deal effectively with changing and unknown environments, and even learn new behaviors that the programmer does not know about at the time of programming characteristics naturally means that this agent is endowed with a learning system that is task-nonspecific, has a certain degree of open-endedness, and becomes progressively more complex and sophisticated.


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