AI.Highlights from NRW

Curated from the AI.Map

Selected examples of the North Rhine-Westphalian AI ecosystem

In this section, we highlight research projects and collaborations, as well as companies and products from NRW that are exemplary for what is possible through artificial intelligence. The AI highlights are characterized by the fact that they address socially relevant topics and challenges, contribute to sustainability, are particularly successful or have received awards.

These highlights show just how multifaceted NRW’s AI ecosystem is. Are you curious? You can find many more outstanding examples from the topic areas “Economy”, “Science ” and “Qualification” on the AI.Map containing more than 700 entries.

Learn more about NRW’s AI.Highlights:

Using AI to prevent food waste
Automating orders, avoiding food waste, and increasing sales at the same time? Based on artificial intelligence, the start-up Foodforecast Technologies offers a special software called “foodforecast” for bakeries, supermarkets and other food production companies. The software analyzes historical sales figures and combines them with important influencing factors to provide an automated sales forecast for future orders. In this way, only those quantities of bread and rolls, fruit and vegetables, or other food products are baked or ordered which are actually sold. This ensures greater sustainability and efficiency for companies.
NeuroSys Cluster 4 future
AI ensures competitiveness
Developing Europe’s very own AI hardware: This is what the research cooperation “NeuroSys 4 Future” considers its task to be in order to remain at the forefront in terms of economy, safety and ethics. For this purpose, the actors of RWTH Aachen University, along with the Research Center Jülich and the NRW Landesinstitut AMO, want to create a competitive, scientific and economic ecosystem in the greater Aachen area. A broad spectrum of expertise is coming together: Physics, materials science and neuroscience, engineering, and computer science all cover technical issues. Innovations are developed in collaboration with economics, while experts from ethics and sociology build bridges to society and politics.
AI Language Model for Europe
Strengthening the innovative power and competitiveness of SMEs across Europe while at the same time preserving data sovereignty and protection: This is the purpose behind the EU research project “OpenGPT-X”. Within the framework of this project, a powerful AI language model for Europe is being developed. This requires the processing of large amounts of data. The data, some of which is sensitive, will only be processed within Europe and made available via a decentralized cloud solution operating in accordance with European security standards. Due to the demanding technical requirements, several partners are joining forces to combine their AI expertise, including Forschungszentrum Jülich, Technische Universität Dresden and Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln.
AI for clean waters
Keeping rivers and oceans free from plastic waste and protecting the environment in the process: That’s what the project “Machine Learning on Multisensor Data from Airborne Remote Sensing to Combat Plastic Litter in Oceans and Rivers (PlasticObs_plus)” is dedicated to. It uses AI to detect pollution of water bodies from above and uses the collected information to reduce and prevent it in the future. The AI also helps to identify where the trash comes from, how it spreads and where it is washed up. This is done using aircraft and drones equipped with smart imaging sensors. Conveniently, this measurement system can be easily integrated into routine aerial monitoring, such as oil and environmental monitoring or coastal protection.
Using AI against hail damage
Hail damage on a car – what now? Normally, experts or a car repair shop will assess the dents on the vehicle and estimate the amount of damage for the customer’s insurance company. With the use of artificial intelligence, damage detection is now easier, faster and particularly reliable: With “image-assisted hail dent analysis,” or BUHDA for short, the reflective surface of the car is examined for storm damage using computer vision. The system was developed by the start-up HaSt, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS, which was responsible for algorithm development in the area of image processing and AI.
AI prevents disinformation on the web
True or Fake? Recognizing disinformation on the Internet is not always easy. This is why the project “AI-supported assistance system for crowdsourcing-based detection of disinformation spread via digital platforms (noFake)” was launched. On the “CORRECTIV.Faktenforum” platform, committed citizens can use AI to check the credibility of a source, the authenticity of images and the validity of facts. In this way, false reports or hate comments can be more easily detected and quickly “disposed of” before they spread further. The project was initiated by the non-profit computing center CORRECTIV and the universities of Bochum and Dortmund.
Using AI to predict environmental data
At what time is the maximum amount of solar energy available? Are there droughts or floods ahead? And how good will the air quality be in the near future? The project “AI Strategy for Earth System Data (KI:STE)” uses artificial intelligence to analyze and accurately predict environmental data in areas such as clouds, water and air quality, and provides it to scientists and other interested parties. It is part of the funding initiative “AI Lighthouses for Environment, Climate, Nature and Resources” by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. KI:STE is a joint project of Forschungszentrum Jülich, RWTH Aachen University, the Universities of Cologne and Bonn, Helmholtz HDS-LEE, and the research and management companies 52°North and Ambrosys.
AI regulates road traffic
Getting from A to B faster while also reducing street noise and air pollution? As part of the project “Artificial Intelligence for Traffic Signal Systems (KI4LSA)”, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB are collaborating with a number of project partners to find a solution for improving traffic flow on the basis of real-time data from existing traffic signal systems and through the use of AI. A demand- and situation-oriented control concept ensures up to 30% shorter waiting times for cyclists, car drivers, and other road users. At the same time, it provides pedestrians with greater safety at traffic light intersections. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport.
AI in sign language
Even today, digital communication is not accessible in all areas and more than 70 million deaf people around the world are affected. With the help of the project “Avatar-based Speech Assistant for Automated Sign Language Translation (AVASAG)”, this is supposed to change. Using AI, the real-time controlled and realistically presented 3D sign language avatar translates German texts into sign language and also improves social participation of the deaf in everyday life. For instance, by automatically providing them with accessible travel and service information at airports or train stations. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
AI in the power plant
By 2025, around half of the electricity consumed in Germany is to be generated from renewable energies. To achieve this, smaller, decentralized energy generation plants are particularly important. It is therefore important that they run and are maintained in the best possible way. This is where the project “Leading-edge cluster industrial innovations: Intelligent monitoring of power generation plants based on cost-efficiently applicable AI technology (SPIN DSC)” is intended to help. Project partners in industry, the energy sector, digital technology and research have developed a cloud-based platform that provides various information about a power plant’s condition based on operating data and using AI. As a result, it can be managed in a more energy-efficient manner and the appropriate time for maintenance work can be determined.
Clinomic Medical
AI in the intensive care unit
Modern intensive care medicine ensures the survival of seriously ill patients and simultaneously improves their quality of life. This is what the start-up Clinomic Medical of RWTH Aachen University – consisting of a team of physicians, researchers and experts in medical IT – aims to achieve with the development of the medical assistance system “Mona”. Using AI technology, Mona assists with documentation, insight into patient data and precise treatment. The system uses language which is easy to understand and allows more time for patients and their relatives. Mona is individually adaptable to the respective clinical operation and has already been awarded various prizes.
AI relieves the burden on nursing staff
Facilitating nursing staff’s work and helping the elderly to live safely: This is made possible by the intelligent, award-winning sensor systems developed by nevisQ, a company founded by students from RWTH Aachen University. For instance, they have developed a room sensor that is installed in the elderly person’s room at baseboard level. The sensor provides movement data, thereby detecting falls immediately and reporting them to the nursing staff. In this way, quick help is possible. Artificial intelligence helps to interpret whether a fall has occurred. As a result, false alarms can be minimized.
AI facilitates work in agriculture
How do different types of grain and plants develop in the fields? Which ones thrive particularly well depending on the environmental conditions, and where, on the other hand, are there gaps or diseases? To find answers to these questions, drones, smartphones or other mobile cameras capture pictures which are then collected and analyzed using artificial intelligence and advanced image processing software by research start-up Pheno-Inspect. In this way, it is possible to determine the status and performance of crops in the (trial) fields in real time. The purpose of the software solution is to use the data to support work in plant production and breeding, as well as agricultural research.
AI in energy supply
Ensuring security of supply and advancing the German energy transition: Every day, energy suppliers and municipal utilities are confronted with challenges such as these. At the same time, they need to cut costs, conserve resources and generate revenue. Using AI, energy suppliers can achieve optimal prices for electricity and gas trading and profitably integrate wind and solar energy, which are susceptible to price fluctuations, into their portfolios. For this purpose, adaptive algorithms automatically observe the market, assess risks and provide precise price forecasts. This is how energy start-up Unigy ensures its customers a sustainable position in times of the energy transition, something for which it recently won the Founder’s Prize NRW.

More ideas on the AI.Map

KI.NRW’s AI.Map provides a comprehensive overview of North Rhine-Westphalia as an AI location and creates visibility for AI experts from business, science and research. In this way, the KI.NRW competence platform helps to connect cutting-edge research, innovation and entrepreneurship and significantly contributes to establishing North Rhine-Westphalia as a nationwide leading location for applied artificial intelligence.