Artificial intelligence concept with line icon and hand of robot
© freepik
Artificial intelligence concept with line icon and hand of robot.

With AI, companies are already saving costs, everyday life can be simplified and quality of life can be improved. This is knowledge that Prof. Dr. Anita Schöbel would like to spread in Rhineland-Palatinate together with her scientific consultant Dr. Henrike Stephani. »My task is to transfer artificial intelligence from the university into practice, i.e. to make it accessible to as many subjects and applications as possible,« says Schöbel. Initially, a particular focus will be on the field of mobility.

AI Initiative Rhineland-Palatinate: AI Pilot for Mobility

Artificial Intelligence in the Field of Mobility in Rhineland-Palatinate

Are you thinking about how you can use AI for your company or your research? What is AI? In which processes can AI be helpful? – To help with the answers to these questions, the Ministry of Science, Further Education and Culture relies on so called AI Pilots. Our institute director Prof. Dr. Anita Schöbel was appointed as AI Pilot (in German KI-Pilotin) for mobility in 2020 by the Minister of Science Prof. Dr. Konrad Wolf.
 

What Is an AI Pilot?

With the »AI Agenda« presented by the Ministry of Science, Rhineland-Palatinate aims to double the funding, research and networking of the key artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in the next few years. One component of the agenda is the appointment of contact persons who support the application of AI technologies in science and industry. These new AI Pilots are the links that bring science and business together to leverage the potential of AI for businesses. The first AI Pilot in Rhineland-Palatinate is Anita Schöbel. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of artificial intelligence and mobility. Together with our institute, the Fraunhofer ITWM, stands for a large number of innovative AI projects.

Function and Activities of the AI Pilot

»As an AI pilot, I am primarily active in an advisory capacity; above all, I am available to the public as a contact person for experts and users. Together with my colleague Dr. Henrike Stephani, we work on presenting projects and methods that use AI successfully in the field of mobility. We want to bring AI and mobility together to enable the use of AI where added value can be expected,« says Prof. Dr. Anita Schöbel.

Presentations are planned to provide information on the topic of Artificial Intelligence in Mobility in direct contact – either online or at face-to-face meetings. We provide all related information here. The AI Pilot scientific consultant, Dr. Henrike Stephani, can also be reached by email and by phone (flexibly and at fixed office hours) for questions about AI.

Due to the Corona pandemic, also in the environment of AI, many events had to be postponed or cancelled. Many event organizers have reacted quickly and allowed conferences to take place digitally, thus preserving the opportunity for knowledge transfer and exchange. Our regular seminars are also currently purely digital. This year, the pandemic will continue to have a decisive impact on the planning and implementation of events. As soon as events can be held live on site again, we will also provide information here on the website.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence can have various meanings. We want to emphasize on the area of AI that is currently the focus of research: so-called »weak« AI.

The goal here is not to replace human intelligence, but to complement it with the special capabilities of computers and learning algorithms. Computing power and memory capabilities mean that computers can learn primarily from a very large number of examples. Solutions become particularly powerful when so-called »data-driven« approaches are combined with human expertise and modeling.

What Added Value Does Artificial Intelligence Create?

Which project examples and fields have been the subject of discussion so far?

Efficiency

Inspection of aircraft turbine production is typically a manual-visual inspection process. In the EU project Ami4Blisk it is complemented by image processing systems that use Machine Learning (ML) to detect potential defect candidates. The human inspection experts are supported by the precise display of the results of the automation. This expert system preserves the flexibility of human inspection while combining it with the traceability and reliability of automation, and thus has high efficiency.

Sustainability

To combine Machine Learning (ML) with geo-referenced environmental data and model-based simulation can help to use vehicle components more efficiently. Innovative drive solutions minimize tire wear, for example, and thus increase sustainability in the commercial vehicle industry. The EU project LORRY and our software VMC address this topic, among others. can help

Quality of Life

In the Bauhaus Mobility Lab [only available in German] (BMWi project BMLEcosys), data on mobility, energy and logistics are linked together with the help of a service platform. Artificial intelligence processes can combine these data types in such a way that they form the basis for innovative service and infrastructure projects. In the Erfurter Brühl real lab, these innovations can be experienced directly.

Data Protection and Ethics

Rhineland-Palatinate also stands for ethically responsible artificial intelligence. Expertise and data of companies as well as personal data must be protected. The procedures and scope of data use must also be critically scrutinized:  

  • In which areas do we want to use AI at all?
  • Are there areas that we do not want to automate?
  • The fact that a computer does not forget distinguishes it from humans. Can this lead to problems, is there a right to »forget«? Should data be deleted on a regular basis?
  • Data is knowledge. Are there areas that should not be linked by AI?

These are questions that are relevant in the area of data protection and ethics. The fact that Rhineland-Palatinate is facing up to this responsibility can be seen, for example, in events such as the Europe-wide digital congress »Trust in AI. Responsible AI for Science and Society«, which took place in Kaiserslautern on 26.11.2020 in the context of the German EU Council Presidency. Fraunhofer ITWM contributed to the discussion and organized one of the workshops.

Kaiserslautern as an Outstanding AI Location 

With the competence gathered in Kaiserslautern, Rhineland-Palatinate has an outstanding AI location. Together with the two Fraunhofer institutes and the Technical University Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern has been a driving force for AI with international appeal for more than 30 years, including the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).

The application aspect is important to Anita Schöbel: »Fraunhofer ITWM places special emphasis on the mathematical foundations of artificial intelligence and provides the appropriate methods for users. Currently, we are focusing on the mobility sector, but we also use AI to solve tasks in the fields of health and production.«

Online Conference TRUSTinAI
© Fraunhofer ITWM
At the online conference TRUSTinAI, our head of institute Anita Schöbel (center) discussed together with Martin Ruskowski (SmartFactoryKL/DFKI) on the left and on the right Peter Liggesmeyer (Fraunhofer IESE), among others, on the topics »Responsible AI – Enabeling – Mathematics, Computer Science and Technology«.