SWILT research project : Swarming to Production


Scientists follow the example of nature in the development of Industry 4.0 algorithms in the SWILT research project.

October 2018 sees the launch of the research project SWILT (Swarm Intelligence Layer to Control Autonomous Agents) at Alpen-Adria University in Klagenfurt. Four Carinthian partners (Lakeside Labs GmbH, Klagenfurt University, Infineon Technologies Austria AG and Novunex GmbH) do research with cyber-physical-system swarms to connect the real world to the virtual world. The project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG; its term is three years and the project volume is nearly 1 million euros.

The increasing networking of production plants is a major challenge for industrial companies. These networks behave in a complex and dynamic manner, similar to ants, bees, fish or birds. This is why SWILT takes the inspiration from nature to model entire industrial plants as swarms. No matter whether it is machines, products or conveying systems – they are all part of a swarm and as such master the increasing complexity and dynamics of Industry 4.0 systems.

"We have learned from years of experience that algorithms of self-organization can master highly complex problems and provide sound solutions. The innovation that SWILT provides is not in the provision of another, pre-calculated production plan or routing table, but in gaining local rules from swarm intelligence algorithms", says project manager Melanie Schranz from Lakeside Labs GmH. Wilfried Elmenreich, who represents Klagenfurt University in the project, explains: "This makes reactive algorithms possible that compensate dynamic changes in the local production environment in a flexible manner by processing data in real time. One essential research aspect of SWILT is the development of a library of such swarm intelligence algorithms. The library includes application-specific requirements and limitations and provides the basis for structured tests, analyses and comparison by means of simulation."

Organizing, observing and coordinating swarms consisting of thousands of autonomous members is a complex task. SWILT therefore embeds the local swarm rules in a novel three-stage architecture that facilitates communication between individual swarms. The new trend technology 5G is used to achieve this communication. With its high data rate and small latency, 5G is becoming indispensable for Industry 4.0. The research partners expect to achieve groundbreaking results for swarm algorithms designed as 5G network applications at the 5G Playground that will be launched at Lakeside Science & Technology Park in early 2019.

Dr. Romy Müller UNI Services | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt |  www.aau.at

Contact for scientific information:

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Melanie Schranz, Projektleitung SWILT
+43 660 55 99 469
+43 463 28 70 44 22

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wilfried Elmenreich
+43 463 2700 3649