Many tasks in modern factories are increasingly being carried out by mobile robots. The ability of these robots to move around autonomously offers huge potential for optimizing intralogistics processes and reducing the workload on employees. As a result of these technological advances, production environments are becoming more agile, connected and heterogeneous. But at the same time the underlying IT applications are growing in complexity, which augments the risk of cyber-attacks. The dilemma for companies is how to take preventive measures against this risk without losing the advantages of an agile production environment. It is a delicate balancing act.
An AI-based approach to greater IT security
The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is addressing this problem in a joint German-Japanese strategic research project launched this November, named “artificial intelligence for robotics and connected manufacturing (AIRPorRT).” In collaboration with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) of Japan, the researchers intend to develop technologies for mobile communication and data analysis in flexible production systems based on AI methods. There is an urgent need for resource-efficient and quality-assured measures to improve IT security in production environments – measures that are capable of keeping pace with the growing number of disparate systems, protocols, workflows, working environments and advanced network technologies. Companies must anchor IT security in their strategic planning and set aside the necessary resources.
“Our work within this project consists of developing appropriate security measures based on a systematic, automated analysis of possible routes of attack into production environments. This approach will allow us to minimize the time and expense associated with the creation of a secure, flexible production environment,” says Fraunhofer IAO project manager Sebastian Kurowski. The resulting, automated security packages can be deployed at critical points in the network to ward off specific risks or be combined to provide an all-round risk-avoidance solution.
Germany and Japan: artificial intelligence for industrial mobile communication
The AIRPoRT project (artificial intelligence for robotics and connected manufacturing) has been granted funding by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) for a period of three years. This project is linked to the German-Japanese project “artificial intelligence for industrial mobile communication.” Together, these two projects aim to investigate the potential of AI applications for industrial mobile communication and develop solutions that will increase the productivity of the industrial sector in Germany and Japan.