Hall B4 of Messe München will become the venue for a top-level event in the artificial intelligence and robotics sector on the second day of automatica (Wednesday, June 28, 2023). Visionaries from research and industry will put a spotlight on visionary developments and emerging technologies in four sessions held at the munich_i Hightech Summit. These experts will also share their input on consequences to society as technology impacts all aspects of life.
The summit’s expert panel gathering in the heart of automatica—leading exhibition for the automation industry—is both interdisciplinary and international. Leading international technology drivers and pioneers from science and industry present their innovations, findings, and megatrends linked to the future of robotics and artificial intelligence. Not only does the summit provide inspiration, it is also a dedicated space for dialog as it enables high-level exchange among and with experts.
The globally unique high-tech platform munich_i consists of three components: the Hightech Summit, the AI.Society special show, and the Robothon®, a collaborative challenge for developers. Prof. Dr. med. Alena Buyx and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sami Haddadin are the directors and leading figures of this event under the auspices of Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder. Having been held only twice before, this format has already developed into one of the leading events covering the future of robotics and AI.
A quick look at the sessions shows that the organizer, TUM’s Munich Institute of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MIRMI), has worked hard to cover the entire bandwidth of key technologies and their impact on different aspects of life. Social and ethical issues associated with the use of AI have been considered as well. The Hightech Summit takes a stand—providing an encompassing overview and looking far beyond today.
Session 1: Humans, AI and Robots!
After the welcoming keynote by Dr. Norbert Gaus, Executive Vice President of Siemens AG, responsible for digitization/AI research and development, the Hightech Summit will commence with the “Humans, AI and Robots!” session.
AI-enabled robots will solve some of humankind’s most pressing issues, says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Toshio Fukuda of Nagoya University, Japan. He heads one of the Japanese government’s Moonshot R&D programs on smart robots and supports his claim with examples from his research.
Prof. Aude Billard, a Swiss national who has been honored for her work in human-robot interaction, is the President-Elect of the global IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS). She presents machine learning methods for quick and reactive robot control—an essential precondition for robot deployments outside of industrial environments.
Session 2: Next Level Industrial Robots
The second session focuses on robotics for industrial use. Here, future robot generations will be programmed using intuitive new tools. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Torsten Kroeger, CTO at Intrinsic, USA, explains what these tools will be like. Intrinsic is part of the Alphabet group and focuses on developing robot software as well as artificial intelligence applications. Previously, Prof. Torsten Kroeger headed Google’s “Robotics Software Division”.
Afterwards, Prof. Jeremy Wyatt, Director at Amazon Robotics, Germany, will present innovative use cases involving smart robots for handling goods across locations operated by the world’s largest online retailer. The core competencies of Amazon Robotics include the development of collaborative and autonomous robots using AI and machine learning for applications implemented across the entire group of companies.
Session 3: Quality of Life
The deployment of robots and other assistance systems in the healthcare sector and geriatric care is associated with critical technical problems, and there are ethical and acceptance issues to be addressed. This is covered in the Hightech Summit Session 3—with top-level expertise.
Prof. Sunil Agrawal, Columbia University, USA, is an expert for robotics in medical rehabilitation applications and provides an overview of his field of research and the kind of collaborative robotics used there. In his institute, Prof. Agrawal has developed exoskeletons that help stroke patients learn to walk again. He has received many awards around the world.
Prof. Dr. Robert Riener, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, conducts research in a related field. He presents an approach to human-machine interaction in rehabilitation based on exoskeletons and virtual reality. Prof. Alex Mihailidis, AGE-WELL/University of Toronto, Canada, talks about the increasing adoption of AI and robotics in geriatric care and provides a glimpse of the future.
Session 4: Strategy and Business
New technology won’t be widely accepted unless a business model can be derived from it. That is why the fourth and final Hightech Summit session explores economic and strategic considerations. Dr. Michael Pfeiffer, Head of AI Research at the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI), Germany, outlines the journey from AI research to marketable products.
These increasingly complex and software-based products require new development and design processes. Dr. Sameer Prabhu, Head of Market Development at MathWorks, USA, describes such a process using ‘model-based systems engineering’ as an example. This new methodology can be used to develop applications such as medical robots, and even to plan entire smart factories.
Outlook from the summit
The overview shows: The Hightech Summit gathers international robotics and AI experts who think far ahead. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sami Haddadin: “It is inspiring that we have succeeded in attracting the international elite of speakers from research and top companies. All four sessions cover exactly what we wanted. This underlines the summit’s commitment to providing highly exciting insights and reliable guidance on the relevance of new technologies in the future.”
Prof. Alena Buyx is pleased with the positive feedback from the speakers invited: “AI technology must be ethically and socially responsible, and it must benefit both individuals and communities. munich_i offers a relevant platform for debate and gathers many participants from politics, science, industry, and society.”