Research on human-machine relationship

Tender: Produktion of the future –    18. tender, leading project ot the FFG (austrian research promotion agency)
Title: MMAssist II - Assistance Systems in production in the context of human-machine cooperation
Total costs: about 6,25 million Euros, promotion about 4 million Euros

A big austrian consortium with the participation of ABF - Industrielle Automation, will conduct research over the next three years in the national lead project MMAssist II as part of the "Production of the Future" initiative of the Ministry of Infrastructure. The focus is on the development of technologies that provide meaningful support for people in production. The employees of the company partners are actively involved in the development of the systems. Professor Manfred Tscheligi (Center for Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Salzburg and the Austrian Institute of Technology) will take over the scientific management.

The consortium is convinced that Europe will only succeed as an industrial location if individualised products can be produced at marketable prices. The products of the future will become more and more functional and individual. Bulk articles will also be produced in batch size 1 in the future. A standard production with mass production cannot manage this due to the lack of flexibility. The need for optimised support at the workplace is therefore becoming increasingly urgent. This is where the lead project MMAssist II (assistance systems in production in the context of human-machine cooperation) comes in and focuses on the development of those technologies that provide useful assistance to employees in production..

Human-machine cooperation as a vision of the future

The lead project MMAssist II was launched on 1 May 2017. The shared goal of the 25 project partners is to fundamentally investigate the nature and characteristics of assistance in the production context. Basically, a difference can be made between three different types of assistance systems, including technical assistance systems in the form of a human-robot collaboration. Visual assistance systems, on the other hand, primarily provide information in various forms of presentation. Digital assistance systems define an interaction with the information system and the physical process of the employee in the execution of his tasks. In the MMAssist II project, modular and reusable digital assistance systems for employees in production companies will be researched and implemented by 2020. On the basis of the use cases "maintenance and repair", "set-up and multi-machine operation" and "assembly", the project partners shed light on the basic requirements for assistance systems from a technical and socio-economic point of view. 

Based on the requirements analysis, so-called assistance units are developed as modular basic modules. The modules can then be used by users in different application contexts. Depending on the application, the assistance units are assembled custom-made with a software framework. Different multimodal input and output modalities as well as context generation modules, which are also developed in the project, are used for the configuration. The solutions are developed with the involvement of employees from manufacturing companies and subsequently evaluated under real conditions. The reduction of the workload by corresponding support functionalities of digital assistance systems for employees will be made measurable. The main goal is to generate results that can be used in real production environments and beyond the project.

High-class consortium gives reason for high expectations

ABF has already accompanied numerous national and international research projects in the past. The current project is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges so far. The consortium with the scientific management by proven experts in the field of human-machine communication and the cooperation with different and multifaceted partners covers a broad field of expertise. The challenge is great and the expectations can be great.

Research partner

Research partners involved in the lead project: Paris Lodron University Salzburg, Austrian Institute of Technology, Evolaris next level GmbH, Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH, JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft m.b.H., Vienna University of Technology - Institute for Automation and Control Technology, VIRTUAL VEHICLE Research Center Corporate Partner: ABF Industrielle Automation GmbH, AVL List GmbH, Becom Electronics GmbH, BRPRotax GmbH & Co KG, DS AUTOMOTION GmbH, Fronius International GmbH, Geberit Produktions GmbH, Kapsch BusinessCom AG, plasmo Industrietechnik GmbH, RIC (Regionales Innovations Centrum) GmbH, Siemens Transformers Austria GmbH & Co KG, Tablet Solutions, Tieto Austria GmbH, TÜV AUSTRIA HOLDING AG, Wacker Neuson Beteiligungs GmbH, XiTrust Secure Technologies GmbH