Connecting AI with Industrial Robotics – Launch of RICAIP Project

RICAIP Centre
The Research and Innovation Center for Advanced Industrial Production (RICAIP) was symbolically opened by the representatives of all four partner institutions (CIIRC CTU, CEITEC BUT, DFKI and ZeMa)

Virtual and augmented reality for remote industrial production control or a system for its rapid adaptation according to the customer’s current needs and available production resources – these are just a few challenges that will be treated by researchers in the RICAIP project, in wich four partners (CIIRC CTU in Prague, CEITEC BUT in Brno and institutes ZeMa and DFKI in Germany) will cooperated. Festively launched today at CIIRC CTU in Prague, in the presence of more than a hundred distinguished guests, RICAIP pushes the boundaries of today’s understanding of the automated industrial production towards the multi-site flexible production. 

The decision to support RICAIP (Research and Innovation Centre on Advanced Industrial Production) came from the European Commission this spring, the project officially starts in September. In the next more than six years, the RICAIP partners will have access to funding of up to EUR 50 million (CZK 1.2 billion). Thanks to this support, the European Centre of Excellence for advanced industrial production, the largest in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and industrial robotics, will be created. It is based on a strategic cooperation between the Czech Republic and Germany. Partners of the project are: its main coordinator CIIRC CTU, CEITEC BUT, and on the German side, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the Centre for Mechatronics and Automatisation Systems (ZeMA), both located in Saarbrücken.

Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General of the European Commission, stressed that obtaining this support is an appreciation of the exceptional quality of the project under evaluation, and also pointed out that only one in 15 of the submitted generally high quality projects received funding from the EU. He said this two days earlier in Brussels at the solemn signing of a document by which the EU allocates EUR 15 million to build the RICAIP Centre of Excellence and 13 other award-winning projects.

“It is an important project supporting both the National Innovation Strategy and the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. It is fully consistent with the EU’s efforts to strengthen research in the field of industrial production by taking advantage of research results generated in the field of AI, ” said the Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček in his video message. “I am convinced that the project will provide significant support for SMEs while becoming a tool both for an effective extension of cooperation with German partners and increasing of our contribution to the EU’s production potential development,” he added, assuring on the project’s importance and full support from the Czech government.

“The newly built RICAIP Centre has a truly European format and will serve to research in the field of intelligent manufacturing across Europe. Of course, a significant part of the capacity will strengthen the modernization of Czech SMEs. Also important is the fact that RICAIP will contribute to the expansion of modern education of students and PhD students at CTU and BUT,” said Professor Vladimír Mařík, Scientific Director of CIIRC CTU.  “The international RICAIP project will not only enable virtual interconnection of various laboratories for intelligent production throughout Europe, but it also brings the possibility of significant research cooperation with German partners directly for BUT. Obtaining such a prestigious project is a proof of both good scientific results of the excellent CEITEC BUT center, and the great potential of Czech experts in the field of cybernetics and artificial intelligence,” added Rector of BUT Petr Štěpánek.

“RICAIP project is a logical continuation of CEITEC activities in the research of highly automated systems. The infrastructure built within RICAIP will provide researchers with an excellent environment to design and validate AI based solutions for production technologies. It will allow to further develop international cooperation, but RICAIP will be also a significant part of regional and national innovation ecosystems, supporting namely a cooperation with innovative SMEs,“ said Radimír Vrba, Director of CEITEC BUT.