Interdisciplinary research competence

FHWS is recognized as a forerunner in the field of strong artificial intelligence.
Together with the specialization in robotics (also interdisciplinary and interfaculty), FHWS possesses a high level of interdisciplinary competence in the domain of applied research in artificial intelligence.

Robots are becoming intelligent

In the strategic development of FHWS, AI should not be considered alone. Instead, it is to be treated like a gearwheel that is intermeshed with other fields of expertise. First and foremost, of course, is the field of “robotics”. Artificial intelligence is making it possible to equip robots with cognitive abilities. Robots are thus able to function autonomously while responding flexibly to their environment and in the long run, making decisions for humans (as opposed to just performing specific tasks).

In order to tap into the disruptive potential of this link between AI and robotics for both research and teaching, FHWS is establishing centers of expertise in both of these areas over the coming years. The “Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics” (CAIRO) is being created in Würzburg along with the “Center Robotics and Intelligence” (CERI) in Schweinfurt. Once they are up and running, the two centers of expertise will work together to provide the ideal conditions for development of “intelligent robots”. Knowledge and technology transfer for applied technologies in AI and robotics represents an integral part of the work of both centers – for all sectors and operations.

CAIRO – Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Besides current developments and techniques in artificial intelligence, CAIRO in Würzburg will focus on strong artificial intelligence while working to rapidly exploit the potential of these new approaches in real-world applications. CAIRO will thus endeavour to secure a competitive advantage for all of Bavaria. The challenges and aspirations in the field of strong AI are very demanding. Solutions must be researched either externally or internally, tested for practicality and put to use in real applications. This is what CAIRO sees as its core responsibility.

In cooperation with CERI in Schweinfurt, robotics expertise and capacity can be used at CAIRO, while on the other hand, AI expertise at CAIRO can also be directly applied in teaching and research as well as through technology transfers to companies.

Center for technology and know-how transfer

Since applications of AI in robotics are not limited to industry, various faculties at FHWS are already working to tap into other fields of use. One specific example involves robotics in nursing care at the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences.

FHWS is strategically connected in Northwest Bavaria with the universities of applied sciences in Ansbach and Aschaffenburg as well as Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg via the FAST network. As part of the Bavarian AI network, the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science (CAIDAS) at the JMU ideally complements and cooperates with CAIRO and CERI. With its defined research areas in data science, machine learning, image & text analysis, AI systems, AI and society, and industry transfer, the JMU is ideally positioned as a complement to CAIRO in the context of the focus there on applied research and knowledge transfer and the orientation toward strong or cognitive AI, particularly for robotics. The Center Robotics and Intelligence (CERI) in Schweinfurt can immediately apply these insights in practical applications in robotics and thus provide feedback on the technologies developed at CAIDAS and CAIRO.

As a result, very concentrated AI expertise is developing in Lower Franconia in the areas of data science and robotics – along with an ideal center of expertise for Bavaria that complements and rounds out activities taking place in other parts of Bavaria.

Technology and know-how transfer between CERI (especially cognitive robotics), CAIRO (especially strong AI) at FHWS and CAIDAS (especially data science) at JMU, as previously described in the text.


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Active loop between the nodes at FHWS and JMU

As part of the range of responsibilities of FHWS, CAIRO will share its knowledge through an AI master’s programme while working to develop the expert personnel so urgently sought by industry and science. Through its applied research, CAIRO will further develop AI for specific applications while making special use of the insights available within the competence network – all the while providing direct support to companies through knowledge and technology transfers, and contributing to academic solutions.