Press Release


Fluids and Valves as a Challenge

FZI Research Center for Information Technology Successful at AIRA Challenge

Research Focus: Applied Artificial Intelligence

The robotics team of the FZI Research Center for Information Technology put its skills to the test at the Advanced Industrial Robotic Applications Challenge (AIRA) and achieved second place. In competition with four other teams, it successfully mastered various tasks arising in an industrial plant.

It was a close call at this year’s robotics innovation challenge
Advanced Industrial Robotic Applications (AIRA) at the ACHEMA 2024 in Frankfurt – the world’s largest tradeshow for the process industry in chemical and biotechnology. Five teams with their robots competed to solve various tasks. In the end, the FZI team won over the expert jury with its walking robot Spot and won second place and 20,000 Euros in prize money. The victory went to the team from Roboverse Reply.

Final at the Hot Wire

Without visual contact and only with insight into the robots’ sensor and camera data, the teams controlled their robots through the task field via teleoperation. This included navigating through a course and opening and closing doors, smaller cleaning tasks, solving maintenance tasks, and the final round at the Hot Wire. The key factor for the FZI’s success was the software developed in-house: using a high-resolution 3D map generated live by the operator, it was possible to achieve precise handling of the tasks under the most demanding conditions.

Division Manager Tristan Schnell was pleased with the outcome of the multi-day competition: “We already had a good feeling at the start of the competition, but the complexity of the final tasks made it clear that it would be a close call right to the end.” In one task in particular, the opening of valves, errors were still made in some places – but ultimately, none of the teams were able to solve the task flawlessly.

Using robots in industrial plants

Robots can already be integrated into daily tasks and thus assist people in complex or dangerous situations. This minimizes risks in everyday work. So far, however, the complex systems often need to catch up to their potential, which requires intuitive control and the integration of variable autonomy in addition to new capabilities. The FZI Research Center for Information Technology is working on various projects to address such application scenarios.

Some of the results shown at the AIRA Challenge come from the project ROBDEKON, in which robotic systems for the decontamination in hostile environments are developed. At the AIRA Challenge, the participating teams presented the current state of the art and the use of robots in industrial plants. The challenge is part of an initiative organized by a consortium of BASF, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, and WACKER Chemie. It is promoted by INVITE GmbH – the public-private partnership of Dortmund University, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, and Bayer – and under the patronage of NAMUR e.V.

About the FZI

The FZI Research Center for Information Technology, with headquarters in Karlsruhe and a branch office in Berlin, is a non-profit institution for information technology application research and technology transfer. It delivers the latest scientific findings in information technology to companies and public institutions and qualifies individuals for academic and business careers or the leap into self-employment. Supervised by professors from various faculties, the research groups at the FZI develop interdisciplinary concepts, software, hardware, and system solutions for their clients and implement the solutions found as prototypes. The FZI House of Living Labs provides a unique research environment for application research. The FZI is an innovation partner of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and strategic partner of the German Informatics Society (GI).

Press contact

Jérôme Nguyen


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