The project Artificial Intelligence for Campus-Communication (KICK) is a research project funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), from the announcement Artificial Intelligence in Communication Networks, which researches the applicability of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in future private and public 5G campus networks.
The goal of KICK is to significantly simplify and improve the operation of future 5G campus networks by using AI methods. The focus here is on Industry 4.0 environments with their high reliability and latency requirements. Specifically, an AI framework for the tactical and operational management and control of such communication networks is being developed and investigated, taking into account the limited communication and computing resources. On the one hand, the research work includes the definition of requirements for AI algorithms and the identification of suitable data and data formats. On the other hand, questions concerning the training, adaptation, compression, exchange and interaction of AI algorithms are addressed. In order to meet the high requirements of industrial applications, hybrid, i.e. data- and model-based approaches are pursued and data from production is linked with data from communication networks. Transfer Learning based on AI network state detection is used to derive adequate behaviour also on the basis of similar situations or similar logical network instances. This enables robust, continuous configuration, optimization and error handling, thus fully exploiting the potential of campus networks and networked Industry 4.0 systems. The project is based on experimental work with real communication and production data from a real factory environment. The automation advantages achieved are also demonstrated in an exemplary manner in such an environment.
KICK AG, a leading producer of intelligent and autonomous machine tools has a modern production sites and is very successful in their market domain. All sites belonging to KICK AG are equipped with the latest automation devices, a modern industrial Ethernet based on TSC and a private 5G campus network. Everything works smoothly with high efficiency. Much work for operation is done by different groups, e.g., the campus network is managed and operated by an external company, the devices and SW functions in the factory have external support or may be leased products, i.e., in a pay-as-you-use fashion and several applications use in-device or edge-cloud and external cloud-based services.
To be able to fulfill the high demand and extend the production capacity and flexibility, the management decides to acquire a less modern factory hall which needs to be updated to fulfill all the company standards. In the course of site modernization, the following steps are planned. First, 3D maps of both operating and empty factory halls are created. Afterwards, the network planning can be carried out smoothly, thanks to the innovative AR enabled 3D network planning tool, where in real time a map of the campus is overlapped to the network deployment, showing propagation condition and specific KPIs distribution, such as a reliability map of the factory hall. This way, the best access point locations are automatically detected. Once the network is deployed, the service accessibility in each planned machine location is verified and supported by the creation of a digital twin of the factory line. Finally, old existing machines are retrofitted by means of digitalization and connection to 5G network whenever possible.
After performing the upgrade, it is planned to order and install a new large device, namely a 3D printer, which requires changing also the position of nearby machines as well as guaranteeing connection to those. There is also a risk that the device – due to its size – changes radio reception conditions in the surroundings.
As a first step, the device must be integrated into the IT infrastructure (including network), the production and internal logistics processes. Due to its large size, the introduction of the new device changes the wireless propagation properties of the factory hall. On the other hand, the frequent interaction with other devices in terms of both information exchange and material flow changes the network traffic pattern. The 5G campus solution provided by KICK automatically recognizes the changes and adapts to the new situation. In summary, different from former days, where the installation of new large devices and machines as well as changes in the production line would have caused long periods of interruption in the production processes, thanks to the innovative solutions, such interruption times can be shortened to a fast and easy re-planning and re-configuration of the network.
Finally, the factory owner can control operations using an AI/ML based analysis tool which monitors data/logs in real time to ensure that the system works as expected and all the external parties comply to security rules and provide the service in the expected quality. After putting the device into service, the AI-based monitoring system proposes post-optimizations, warns for potential pitfalls, anomalies and visualizes the system health.
In summary, the truly plug&work solution will provide the following benefits:
Peter Production Planner is working on the digitization of the factory floor to improve the product throughput and to reduce the number of customer complaints. Any ordered good is already tracked before it arrives at the KICK AG factory hall. To ensure a smooth unloading of trucks, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are pre-scheduled and informed about the routes before the truck arrives. In addition, the communication network is configured such that the new devices can be seamlessly integrated, while still keeping security constraints such as isolation by means of network slicing. To ensure faultless goods, an automated scanning of the boxes with the goods is initiated upon arrival. The AGVs automatically load the goods and follow their path from the factory entrance to the machines for further processing.
Peter Production Planner must guarantee that AGVs arrive safely and fast at the machines. Therefore, he ensures that the navigation is not influenced by shadowed areas and that the maps (factory floor and radio maps), a kind of digital twin of the factory, are constantly updated. With these real-time maps, anomalies, such as a dropped load can be detected and also broken AGV can be identified and maintained/serviced remotely. In case of such an incident, other AGVs are automatically redirected. As the weight of the goods might exceed the maximum cargo capacity of an AGV, a virtual compound/platoon of AGVs is formed, that lets the AGVs cooperatively navigate through the factory. Furthermore, the AGVs are constantly monitoring for alarms, in which case they vacate the premises in a pre-planned manner to allow for unobstructed operations for the first responders.
To ensure a smooth transition from the AGV to the machines, where the goods are processed, a communication link between the goods and the machines is set up and the machines get their processing instructions. During the processing of the goods, the tags of the different components are combined so that the final product only has a single tag for identification and communication. In case of a machine outage, the production process is automatically rescheduled (to a spare machine, other processing step) and the AGVs are redirected accordingly.
Before the products are picked up by the AGVs, an automated, offloaded quality control ensures compliance with the high-quality standards of Peter and the KICK AG. The AGVs transport the products from the machines to an intermediate storage, where they are packed and stored. During the navigation of the AGVs, they are constantly monitored, which helps Peter Production Planner to predict AGV outage and consequently increase the efficiency/rentability of his production process. In addition, the AGVs also help to detect anomalies caused by jamming or some other unusual interference. A final security check ensures that the products and their surrounding boxes are not damaged before they are loaded by the AGVs onto the trucks.
In summary, the efficient intralogistics and mobile robotics solution will provide the following benefits:
The KICK AG successfully implemented the industry 4.0 in their smart factory. A part of their success lies in the fact that, contrary to the competitors, they are able to handle the enormous amount of data generated by the individual intelligent machine, ERP-system and 5G campus network.
The KICK AG is not only collecting data, but also continuously analyze it with the help of AI algorithms to gather several information from the single raw data source such as anomaly detection. Thus, in the case of detected anomalies, the AI system lists the root causes of the anomaly and the employee in the smart factory receives an alarm that an anomaly has been identified. At the same time to avoid any damage to the machine, the system degrades the machines automatically to “limited operation”. The employee goes to the UI and looks for the causes and the expected impact of the identified anomaly and checks if any countermeasures are already available for that. If there is no any solution defined against the identified anomaly and no expert is available at the site, the employee uses his AR glasses for the help of the remote expert to fix the problem. Since there is a strong interconnection between the network management and the production environment, and the network management is also aware of the problem, they provide the required network resources for the AR usage. The help of the remote expert enables a smooth and fast resumption of machine operation without any significant production downtime. After resolving the anomaly with the remote expert, the solution is added in the available solutions pool against the identified anomaly. In this way the solution database also gets stronger in the course of time.
The benefits of data analysis and predictive maintenance can be summarized as below
Definition of use cases for industrial, non-public networks and their analysis with regard to requirements for the AI. Selection of suitable AI functionalities, which are optimized in AP3 and AP4 for the use cases. Interface definition for data extraction from non-public communication networks within real production environments as well as production data for generating context information are also part of the AP. Development of system models for a cyber-physical network simulator to provide synthetic training data.
Development and performance evaluation of AI-based algorithms for use in planned changes in communication networks and production environments. Recording and description of the actual state of complex industrial communication systems including relevant real world influences on the basis of single measuring points which are to serve as a basis for later optimization. The optimization shall benefit in particular from already existing knowledge. Thus, an AI-supported evaluation of the effects of an optimization measure is to be made, sources of error are to be identified and knowledge from previous reconfigurations is to be transferred to new situations by means of transfer learning. A challenge in the industrial environment is the integration of expert knowledge from the fields of communication and production as well as different data sources and models into a robust overall system. AP3 uses simulations developed in AP2 as well as methods and interfaces for the collection of measurement data. Selected AI methods are demonstrated in AP5 with prototype systems.
Development of management and orchestration functions or algorithms that automate the operational network management of campus networks using AI-based methods The focus is on the special features and use cases of operational campus network management. Frequent reconfigurations of the entire infrastructure must be taken into account, which not only influence tactical network management but also operational management functions. These must be particularly robust against changes in context. The AI models must be robust against changes and should be adapted more quickly to changes using "transfer learning" methods.
Collection of measurement data in application scenarios as real as possible for training and evaluation of the AI procedures to be developed in WP 3 and 4 Realisation of selected application cases in a real environment in the sense of a proof of concept, in which different aspects of potentially different partners (e.g. different AI procedures) interlock. Qualitative and - as far as possible - quantitative evaluation of the achievable improvements compared to the state of the art.
To link measures for the publicity of the project and results and for KICK profitably with suitable projects and committees, e.g. in connection with standardisation activities. Publications, panel(s), workshop(s), demo(s) or posters at relevant flagship conferences such as IEEE Globecom, ICC, NOMS/IM, NIPS etc. are aimed for. Such activities will not be funded, but will be pursued as they are in the interest of the consortium.
Dr. Ilaria Malanchini
Senior Research Engineer
End-to-End Network & Service Automation
Nokia Bell Labs
Mobile: +49 175 7266815
Nokia Solutions and Networks GmbH & Co. KG
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The Wireless Communications and Networks (WN) department of Fraunhofer HHI has carried out cutting edge research on wireless networks for more than 20 years. In close cooperation with numerous companies and organisations, the researchers make extensive contributions to the theory, concept development, technical feasibility and standardisation of wireless networks. The service offering is completed by scientific studies, simulations and evaluations at link and system level, field measurements as well as the development and construction of hardware prototypes. Amongst others, we offer solutions in the areas of 5G and potential successors, smart antenna systems (MIMO), cognitive radio, millimeter wave communications, meshed networks with wireless sensors, control and optimization of wireless networks, car to car communication, self-organizing networks, big data as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence for wireless networks.
Nokia (Stuttgart and Munich) develops the technologies for our networked world. Based on Nokia Bell Labs' research and innovation, we offer telecom operators, governments, large corporations and consumers the most comprehensive portfolio of products, services and licensing in the industry. From infrastructure for 5G and the Internet of Things to new applications for virtual reality and digital health, we are developing the technologies of tomorrow that will transform the way we communicate. As a leading provider of mobile and fixed network infrastructure, Nokia also has the software, services and future technologies to unlock the full value potential of networked devices and sensors. For customers in over 100 countries, Nokia seamlessly connects mobile, fixed, IP routing and optical networks with software and network management, driving the transformation to intelligent and virtualized networks. Nokia's researchers and developers are continuously inventing new technologies that transform the way people and things communicate: 5G, ultra-broadband, IP and software defined networking, cloud-based applications, Internet of Things and network security, data analysis, sensors and image processing.
Nokia is represented in KICK by the research department Bell Labs. With locations in several European countries, the US and China, and in collaboration with customers, research institutes and universities, Nokia Bell Labs contributes with a deep understanding of network operations to the evolution of communication networks to meet the demands of constant traffic growth and increasing user expectations for quality of experience, network efficiency and energy consumption reduction. Bell Labs locations in Munich and Stuttgart are represented in KICK, with a focus on end-to-end network and service automation, network management, mobile edge computing, standardization and the linking of mobile communications with industrial networks and environments.
Infosim® GmbH & Co. KG is an international IT company founded in 2003 with headquarters in Würzburg, Germany and subsidiaries in Münster, the United States (Austin, TX) and Singapore. With StableNet®, Infosim® is a leading global provider of automated service fulfillment and service assurance solutions for telecommunications companies, ISPs, managed service providers, and enterprises. StableNet® is developed with a unified data model on a standardized system platform and is designed to address the extensive operational and technical challenges of distributed and mission-critical IT infrastructures. The core competencies of StableNet® are the monitoring and management of these infrastructures in the domains of fault, performance and configuration. In addition, Infosim® ERP offers development in Microsoft® Dynamics 365 Business Central and custom software development and is a partner in various national and international research projects. In the context of these projects Infosim® is researching on future-oriented technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain or 5G. In the KICK project, Infosim® contributes its experience from these projects, supplemented by a wide range of competences in different business areas, especially in network and service management with a special focus on manufacturer-independent interfaces.
Siemens (Berlin and Munich) is a global leader in automation, digitization and electrification. This includes the entire range of network technologies, communication middleware and application layer protocols. The company is active in the fields of industry and energy as well as in the healthcare sector. Approximately 385,000 employees develop and manufacture products, plan and create systems and plants and offer tailor-made solutions. For over 170 years, Siemens has stood for technical performance, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality. In fiscal 2019, which ended on September 30, 2019, Siemens generated revenue of €86.8 billion and net income of €5.6 billion. With around 3,000 researchers and developers and more than 55,000 active patents, Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) is one of the leading global research networks within the technology company.
Since its foundation in 1992, GHMT AG, which operates independently and neutrally, has been dealing with the complex field of physical transmission security in networks, computer centres and industrial plants. A highly qualified team carries out tests and expert inspections, prepares analyses, expert opinions and concepts in the following service areas
Thus, GHMT AG also supports building owners, planners and installers in renowned large-scale projects by providing concepts, quality assurance and metrologically supported acceptance tests. In the KICK research project, GHMT AG is represented by the Wireless Applications division, which offers services for the entire life cycle of industrial radio networks and consistently considers them as a holistic concept. During the introductory phase, it advises customers on the selection of a suitable radio technology for their application and carries out precise simulation and metrologically supported radio network planning of campus networks. During operation, it supports its customers through remote support with defined response times, monitoring in the radio channel for which it has developed its own measuring equipment, and complex troubleshooting. In this way, GHMT AG always ensures the best possible availability and maximum performance for all types of industrial radio applications.
atesio from Berlin, founded in the year 2000, is a founder-led SME. It specialises in the use of mathematical models and methods for the planning and operation of networks, in particular telecommunications networks (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, SDH, IP/MPLS, fibre optics). atesio offers consulting services, software modules and development services. As a spin-off of the non-university mathematical research institute Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum für Informationstechnik Berlin (ZIB), atesio is still regularly involved in national and international research projects.
As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. Renningen, near Stuttgart, Germany, is the new hub of the Bosch Group's global research activities. Here around 1,600 employees are developing new technologies, materials, and methods for the future business of Bosch.
Das Deutsche Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH (DFKI) with locations in Kaiserslautern, Saarbrücken, Bremen (with branch office in Osnabrück) and a project office in Berlin is the leading research institution in Germany in the field of innovative software technologies. In the international scientific community, DFKI is one of the most important "Centers of Excellence" and is currently the world's largest research center in the field of Artificial Intelligence and its applications in terms of staff numbers and third-party funding. The financing volume in 2014 was 38.4 million euros. DFKI projects address the entire spectrum from application-oriented basic research to the market- and customer-oriented development of product functions. Currently, more than 430 employees from about 60 nations are researching innovative software solutions with a focus on knowledge management, Cyber-Physical Systems, Robotics Innovation Center, Innovative Retail Laboratory, Institute for Information Systems, Embedded Intelligence, Agents and Simulated Reality, Augmented Reality, Language Technology, Intelligent User Interfaces, Innovative Factory Systems, Intelligent Networks. The success: over 60 professors from our own ranks and more than 60 spin-off companies with approx. 1,700 highly qualified jobs.
To further develop production technology and to digitally network it, to make it even more economical, precise and future-proof - that is our task. In doing so, we want to make production and its upstream and downstream processes more efficient. This is how we are building the industrial world of tomorrow. We are the market and technology leader in machine tools and lasers for industrial production and our innovations are effective in almost every industry. Our software solutions pave the way to the Smart Factory, and in industrial electronics we enable high-tech processes.