Lab Opening Event

On October 5th and 6th, about 150 participants from science and industry took the opportunity to exchange ideas and gain insights into the new laboratories at our Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IAI).

The event marked the official opening of the “Imitation Learning Lab” and the “Robotics Apartment” on the premises of the Bremen Technical Academy (TAB). The attendees were welcomed by Dr. Claudia Schilling, Bremen's Senator for Science and Ports, Prof. Dr. Kerstin Schill, Director of the Institute for Cognitive Neuroinformatics at the University of Bremen, Dr. Mandy Boehnke, Vice President of the University of Bremen and Prof. Dr. Gerhard Sager, Rector of the University of Bielefeld.

A next-generation lab

There was plenty to celebrate: Especially the opening of the Robotics Apartment was remarkable, as it was actually celebrated twice – a digital twin of the apartment was made available online concurrent with the opening of the physical lab. The digital twin is an exact digital copy of the Robotics Apartment, allowing scientists around the world to perform experiments in the simulated lab. The opening of this next-generation lab therefore represents an invitation to the international scientific community to collaborate with us and use our state-of-the-art infrastructure for the advancement of research in AI-based robotics.

Each day of the two-day event, which was streamed online, had a different focus. On Wednesday, the IAI hosted an international symposium. In entertaining keynote lectures, researchers provided insights into the current state of research in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics. We were fortunate to attract a diverse group of speakers from the scientific community in Bremen as well as from other countries such as Italy, Sweden and Japan.

Thursday's program was geared towards the exchange of ideas between science and industry. In four panels, researchers and industry representatives discussed their experiences with transferring research results from science to industry. In addition to scientific institutions such as the DLR and TU Munich, various established companies (Neusta, Siemens and SAP) and start-ups (Ubica Robotics, Artiminds Robotics and Cellumation) took part in the first three of these panels. The fourth panel was dedicated to the importance of enabling Open Research.

Professor Jutta Günther, the new rector of the University of Bremen, welcomed the symposium's attendees with opening remarks.
IAI researcher Gayane Kazhoyan explaining the digital twin infrastructure
The festive opening of the labs was accompanied by an exhibition as well as live demonstrations of the PR2 and HSR robots.
Visitors were able to watch the PR2 robot performing household tasks in the new Robotics Apartment.
Dr. Claudia Schilling, Bremen's Senator for Science and Ports, in conversation with Professor Michael Beetz from the IAI.
Dr. Karinne Ramírez-Amaro, associate professor at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, here with Professor Michael Beetz, gave a talk about the ways in which robots can learn and reason from their experiences.
Dr. Daniel Nyga, Claudio Uriarte and Dr. Darko Katic (from left to right) discussed AI-based robotics from a start-up perspective.
Presenters and guests alike were able to end the evening casually with appetizers and drinks.

Despite having to operate on a limited scale due to pandemic restrictions, the two-day Lab Opening was a resounding success that fostered connections between research and industry. A separate 'friends and family'-event was also held in January, where our staff showed the new labs to interested people in their lives. We were particularly grateful to be able to host these events in person again after a long time and that they were accompanied by such exciting discussions and an overall atmosphere of lively exchange. Although the focus of the event was to open the doors of our new laboratories to the public, it is also important for us as a research institute to keep our doors open, symbolically speaking, beyond events such as the Lab Opening.

We thus thank all participants from research and industry who contributed their diverse perspectives in lectures and plenary discussions. They all helped to promote scientific progress as well as the transfer of research between research and industry – at our research institute and beyond.

Prof. Dr. hc. Michael Beetz PhD
Head of Institute

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Andrea Cowley
assistant to Prof. Beetz

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