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Educating Europe`s Future Engineers in Next Generation Heavy Duty Mobile Machinery: Artificial Intelligence driven Robotisation, Energy Efficiency and Process Optimisation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MORE (Educating Europe`s Future Engineers in Next Generation Heavy Duty Mobile Machinery: Artificial Intelligence driven Robotisation, Energy Efficiency and Process Optimisation)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-12-31

Ever-increasing demand for material and food, stricter emissions regulations, and continuous globalisation has put Europe’s construction, logistics, and agriculture sectors under immense pressure. Dramatic improvements in their productivity and efficiency are the only answer to these global challenges. Heavy-duty mobile (HDM) machinery are crucial workhorses in these sectors. Europe`s major HDM equipment companies (J. Deere, Liebherr, Bosch Rexroth, HIAB, Volvo CE) have joined forces with four highly specialised academic groups to deliver MORE, a timely project in response to these urgent needs.

MORE will address these challenges by delivering innovative solutions driven by digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in three areas: 1) Processes: world modelling by combining machine-earth interaction with vision, and optimising material flow in construction sites, 2) Machines: creating efficient power-train solutions for heavy-duty booms and 3) Control: object classification and world modelling to support long-term autonomy; obstacle avoidance in adverse conditions; innovative solutions on transfer-learning for earth moving and boom control to reduce operational and development costs, in different application areas.

Europe’s HDM machine industry needs to invest heavily in digitalization, ‘green’ and innovative technologies, and address the serious labour shortage. There is thus a rapidly growing demand for experts in HDM machinery having the big picture of trends in AI, robotics, and energy systems as well as an understanding of the challenges and opportunities.

MORE is an innovative European Industrial Doctorate (EID) research and training programme, the first of its kind, that will address this need and fill the gap in related research and training. Eight early stage researchers will be equipped with a set of research skills including robotics, machine learning, energy systems, as well as transferable skills such as entrepreneurship and career management.
The overarching goal of the MORE research programme is to develop new concepts of processes, systems and components for HDM machinery, specifically using robotisation and AI, and to provide proof-of-concept by advancing hardware and software for representative cases with the aim of increased safety, fuel efficiency, and productivity. This will be achieved by addressing industry-driven research questions on three main pillars of the future of HDM machinery: 1) robotisation/AI; 2) energy efficiency; and 3) optimal processes for a range of important application fields.

The MORE training programme is truly intersectoral and multidisciplinary. It will equip our eight ESRs with a skill set that is unique and in high demand by the HDM industry in a growing yet changing market, with new requirements for new technologies, products and qualified staff. The skills provided by trainers, supervisors and other experts will enable ESRs to develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills, their ability to create and to understand business models, their knowledge on ethics in the fast-moving fields of robotics and automation, as well as their competence in scientific projects management and their understanding of research funding schemes, among others.
We have defined the impact of the project in the grant agreement as follows. Our EID action will
1. provide eight ESRs with timely knowledge and practical experience in the fields of automation and energy-efficient systems to guide the development of next generation HDM machinery.
2. Collaboration of key partners in this industry and related fields of research will: a) enhance the ESRs’ career perspectives; b) contribute to the future competiveness of an important European industry; and c) strengthen the innovation capacity in technologies that are also highly relevant to other sectors and industries.
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