Representatives of 25 partners of the new technological network AI-MATTERS, which consists of seven nodes and one satellite in eight European countries with a budget of 60 million euros for five years, met at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the CTU in Prague(CIIRC CTU) during the past two days. The main goal of the AI-MATTERS network, which held its first general meeting in Prague, is to support the development of the European manufacturing industry in the introduction of advanced technologies, thereby increasing its innovation capacity and global competitiveness. The Czech node of the AI-MATTERS network leads the CIIRC CTU, which thus becomes one of the main testing and experimental sites for industrial applications in the field of artificial intelligence and intelligent robotics.
AI technologies are a key driver of digital transformation, which is why the European Union supports their implementation. The entire innovation ecosystem benefits from this – the research results are used both directly by the end users of the solutions, i.e. mainly manufacturing companies, and also by the innovators and technological developers who develop such solutions. In order to shorten the otherwise long path from research to practice as much as possible, the creation of European sector-oriented networks of testing and experimental workplaces – the so-called TEF („Testing and Experimentation Facilities“) – was supported. AI-MATTERS is one of four of these TEF sector networks and focuses on supporting the European manufacturing industry, especially for start-ups, SMEs, but also mid-caps and large enterprises.
„Our goal is to provide manufacturing companies with the opportunity to test advanced technologies using artificial intelligence in real scenarios and verify the suitability of their solutions before launching the technology on the market,“ confirms the coordinator of the AI-MATTERS project, Dr. Valentina Ivanova from the French state research organization CEA (French Commission for Alternative energy and Atomic energy).
Thanks to the involvement of the CIIRC CTU and other Czech partners – CEITEC BUT in Brno and VSB-TUO in Ostrava – TEF services will also be more accessible to technological innovators and companies from the Czech Republic. „We plan that already next year primarily system integrators and AI technology providers will have access to the professional services and expertise of the entire AI-MATTERS network, while small and medium-sized enterprises will also use this infrastructure for free,“ says Ondřej Beránek, who heads the office AI-MATTERS at CIIRC CTU.
The main technical aspect and benefit for users will be the possibility to develop and test different scenarios and state-of-the-art software or hardware solutions based on artificial intelligence in real conditions. The modern research infrastructure, which is essential for this purpose, is provided by the Testbed for Industry 4.0, which, together with the testbed in Brno, is equipped with top technologies within the Research and Innovation Centre on Advanced Industrial Production (RICAIP).
„After the RICAIP center, which we have been working on for the last four years, making the services of connected Czech testbeds available within the framework of TEF is the next logical step in building a strong ecosystem for artificial intelligence in the Czech Republic, which also ensures the transfer of know-how and technology into practice,“ explains Prof. Vladimír Mařík, scientific director of CIIRC CTU, and continues: „Now European companies of various sizes will have a great opportunity to gain access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, which will strengthen them and increase their competitiveness.“
In addition to the Czech representation, AI-MATTERS nodes are located in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, and a satellite in Greece.