Network partner

The Feuerwehr Dortmund (FwDO) - as the network coordinator - is represented by the In-stitute for Fire and Rescue Technology (IFR), which has been conducting research in the field of civil security to improve technology and concepts in firefighting and civil protection since 2001. Since 2008, the IFR has been continuously involved in national and European projects to research the operational suitability and utility of robotic systems with a focus on UAVs or UGVs.
The applicability and practical relevance of the developments to be carried out and implemented is the focus of the FwDO in the A-DRZ project. Through the role of coordinator, the participation in the majority of the work packages as well as the responsibility for the scenario specification, the test areas and the application fields, the FwDO places the project under user-oriented monitoring - both for the scientific area and the industrial partners.

The Department of Communication Networks at TU Dortmund (TUDO) has been researching reliable communication networks and services for so-called cyber-physical systems (CPS) since 2005, especially in the area of civil security research. The focus is on the performance evaluation and optimisation of mobile radio networks, currently especially in the context of future 5G systems. The chair's research results have received numerous awards, including 9 "Best Paper Awards" at international conferences.
A particularly visible international focus is the research field of wireless networking of flying robots for use in rescue robotics, as has been and is being researched in the AIRSHIELD, ANCHORS and LARUS research projects for various scenarios (large fires, sea rescue, etc.) under the leadership or with the participation of the Chair. For example, in the course of setting up the German Rescue Robotics Centre, the Chair of Communication Networks is also leading the work on the robust wireless networking of robotic systems, with special consideration of the challenging conditions of a rescue mission.

Fachhochschule Dortmund (FHDO) is involved with the two departments of computer science and mechanical engineering as well as the "Institute for the Digitalisation of Working and Living Environments" (IDiAL). At the FHDO, robot systems for various fields of application are being researched in a transdisciplinary manner together with users from industrial practice. Examples of this are the projects "Development of omnidirectional driverless transport vehicles" (2011-2014) and "MULTILOK - Self-localisation of mobile ground-based systems based on multi-sensor data fusion" (2014-2016), both of which were funded by the BMWi in the ZIM programme. Furthermore, several robot systems were prototypically developed on behalf of industry, some of which have already been further developed into a product by the client and successfully marketed. Examples of current research projects are "Software4Robots - Complex Robotics Software in Civil Security" (BMBF, programme "Young Engineers - Cooperative Doctorate") and "IMeRo - Individual Human-Robot Cooperation for the Working World in Demographic Change" (MIWF NRW, programme FH-Time for Research). In the Software4Robots project, architectures, tools and methods for the development of complex robot software for applications in civil security are being researched. In cooperation with the CITEC17 of Bielefeld University and the JPL of the California Institute of Technology (caltech) and other partners, a doctoral exchange programme "Advanced Autonomous Robotics Programme" is currently being established.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) is one of the leading institutions for applied research in the field of data analysis and knowledge development. With around 250 employees, Fraunhofer IAIS combines competences from a wide range of scientific disciplines, in particular computer science as well as mathematics and natural sciences, with profound industry knowledge. The focus is on solutions that help customers from business, industry and the public sector to manage information and make decisions by analysing and linking large data sets.
The main tasks of Fraunhofer IAIS in the project are the conception and development of methods and software tools with which the end user interacts directly: To control the robotic systems in use, and to create comprehensive situation reports for situation assessment and mission planning. An important part of this is the development of open standards and interfaces that enable the competence centre to provide an open platform for the representation of the current situation as a basis for future developments.

The Cognitive Mobile Systems (CMS) department of the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics (FKIE), which is one of the leading institutions in the field of security research, has been working on unmanned mobile systems and innovative procedures for their assisted semi-autonomous guidance for over 25 years. Against this background, the implementation of practical investigations and projects as well as the provision of analysis and consulting capabilities in the field of mobile robotic systems for authorities and organisations with security tasks represent central tasks of the department.
Based on comprehensive expertise in dealing with cognitive mobile systems and associated interdisciplinary cooperation, CMS is developing a cross-platform modularisation concept for robotic systems of different size classes within the framework of the joint project A-DRZ. In the sense of joint practice-oriented system development, this serves as a technical condensation point for the cross-partner cooperation of the association members. Furthermore, as an experienced organiser of the ELROB and EnRicH performance competitions, CMS supports the development of new DRZ events for robotics needs and performance analysis.

The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (Deutsche Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz(DFKI)) GmbH is the leading business-oriented research institution in Germany in the field of innovative software technologies. In the international scientific community, the DFKI is one of the world's most important "Centres of Excellence". The DFKI participates in ADRZ with three departments: 1.) the Multilingual Language Technologies Lab (MLT), which researches and develops innovative language technologies for the processing of text, spoken language and knowledge; 2.) the Institute of Information Systems (IWi), which contributes its competences in the fields of information management, process prediction and process recommendation; and 3.) the Educational Technology Lab (EdTec), which develops and researches intelligent-adaptive and context-sensitive assistance and knowledge services. All three departments have nationally and internationally recognised experts in their fields of research and development and have successfully carried out numerous projects in a national and international context. MLT coordinates the aforementioned EU projects on robot-assisted hazard prevention NIFTi and TRADR, as well as the real-life missions of flight and ground robots after the earthquakes in Mirandola (2012) and Amatrice (2016).

The Autonomous Intelligent Systems group at the Institute of Computer Science at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn researches and teaches in the fields of cognitive robotics, computer vision and machine learning. She has extensive experience in the development of complex ground and flight robots for various practical scenarios. The NimbRo team of the working group regularly demonstrates the performance of its methods at international competitions. For example, Team NimbRo was able to win the international RoboCup@Home competitions three times in a row. For this, efficient methods for 3D mapping of environments with RGB-D cameras and 3D laser scanners, as well as for RGB-D motion segmentation and modelling of the individual segments were developed. Furthermore, the working group has many years of experience in the field of Deep Learning and has, for example, proposed methods for semantic categorisation of RGB-D scenes and of RGB-D videos from moving camera perspectives. In addition, there is recent work on the perception of objects and people. In the context of this collaborative project, the work on environment modelling, supervised autonomy and teleoperation should be highlighted, the performance of which has been successfully demonstrated in the robotics competition DARPA Robotics Challenge, which focuses on rescue scenarios, in the DLR SpaceBot Cup, and in the ongoing EU project CENTAURO, which is coordinated by the University of Bonn. CENTAURO aims to develop a ground robot for missions in rough terrain during a disaster scenario. In the field of aerial robotics, the working group has specialised in 3D mapping and autonomous navigation in complex 3D environments near obstacles and inside buildings. In the BMWi project InventAIRy, for example, the working group realised autonomous flight control within a warehouse. In the EU project ChimneySpector (European Robotics Challenge 3), the autonomous interior inspection of an industrial chimney was successfully demonstrated and the autonomous exterior inspection of a building was demonstrated as part of the DFG research group "Mapping on Demand". As part of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), where the NimbRo team won a partial competition and the Grand Challenge, the rapid landing of a flying robot on a moving platform, the tool use of a mobile manipulation robot, as well as the cooperative collection of objects by several flying robots were recently demonstrated in Abu Dhabi.

The Association for the Promotion of German Fire Protection e.V. (Vereinigung zur Förderung des Deutschen Brandschutzes e.V. (vfdb)) is the modern expert network for protection, rescue and safety. For a safe life, the vfdb deals with current and future-oriented safety issues in a trend-setting manner. In the meantime, the vfdb has more than 3,000 members who deal with fire protection as well as technical assistance, environmental protection, rescue services and civil protection and offer professional support. Users such as fire brigades and emergency response organisations are united in the vfdb with scientific institutions and service providers from industry and the service sector, and in this way also offer comprehensive expertise. In addition to individual members, several hundred corporate members from business and society stand up for the vfdb's goals.
Essential contributions in the project are the development of the network structure and the elaboration of application scenarios and fields of application needed for the design of the DRZ's test areas. Furthermore, the vfdb collaborates in the preparation of leaflets and guidelines for users and publishes them.

As a world leader in fire protection, Minimax Viking's (Mx-Vk) research focuses on early fire detection, fire detection and extinguishing systems. Minimax has a fire test centre, IP department and international sales network as well as broad experience in product / system certification and standardisation work. The fire test centre was inaugurated as early as 1968 and has been continuously expanded over the years, also to take environmental protection into account. During the last major expansion, a height-adjustable ceiling was installed and the volume was increased to 15 m high and 320 m² floor space. In standardisation and guideline work, Minimax Viking is represented nationally and internationally in the working groups on fire detection and fire fighting, and chairs some of the groups. This standardisation work includes design, installation and maintenance as well as product testing. As a leading manufacturer, Minimax Viking has the relevant know-how in product testing and certification. As part of the competence centre, Minimax has a leading role in developing the basis for testing and certification procedures for the robots, as well as identifying and developing the demonstrators with the greatest potential for commercial use.

The Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen (WHS) is represented by the teaching and research area Autonomous Systems of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hartmut Surmann, who has been researching rescue robots since the collapse of the Cologne City Archive. Since 2010, Prof. Surmann has been involved in the two European projects NIFTi and TRADR in cooperation with Fraunhofer IAIS, with missions to the earthquakes in Mirandola and Amatrice (Italy, 2012 and 2016).
The contribution of the Westfälische Hochschule in the establishment of the "German Rescue Robotics Centre" (DRZ) is focused on situation representation from video sequences, in particular through flying robots and "neural networks", as well as training and the promotion of young talent. In the training of students for the use of robots in computer science, the department already has almost ten years of experience and would like to extend this training to the qualification of fire brigades, for example, through dual courses of study that combine a rescue profession with computer science studies.

The Technische Universität Darmstadt (TUDA) contributes extensive expertise on intelligent (semi-)autonomous robot systems in hostile environments through its Simulation, System Optimisation and Robotics department. In the RoboCup Rescue Robot League, the "Best in Class Autonomy Award" was won four years in a row and in 2014 the entire competition was won for the first time ever with an autonomous robot. Among the algorithms developed in the process is Hector SLAM, one of the most widely used SLAM algorithms in the world35. Within the Rescue Robot League, there is also close collaboration with NIST (USA) on standardised environments and benchmark testing in the research and development of rescue robot technologies. In 2015, TUDA was the only institution worldwide to qualify for the finals of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) with two different (humanoid) robots in two different teams and was the only European institution to receive funding from DARPA. The DRC aimed to develop robots with versatile human-like capabilities. A particular focus of TUDA was on collaborative autonomy, where the capabilities of semi-autonomous robotic system and human operator are combined in the best possible way, as far as modularity of the software architecture and its transferability to different types of robots. In 2017, TUDA collaborated with taurob GmbH to win the international ARGOS Challenge for an intelligent mobile remote inspection robot that had to reliably and safely perform very complex autonomous inspection missions in a potentially explosive atmosphere and under different weather conditions in a variety of different exceptional situations and anomalies. The department coordinates the first university Master of Science degree programme in Autonomous Systems in Germany since its establishment in 2009 at TUDA.

The Universität zu Lübeck (UzL) is represented by the Institute for Robotics and Cognitive Systems (ROB), which has been developing intelligent robot systems for medical technology applications since 2001. As a campus university with a focus on medicine and life sciences, the aim of the UzL is to develop modern medicine and technology that focuses on people with their individual needs and their self-determined responsibility for their own health.
In the A-DRZ project, the ROB will in particular develop a technological payload for medium and large robots that will be used to check the vital signs of possible victims of a fire, flood or earthquake situation without contact. Furthermore, deployment scenarios and demonstrators for combined air-water drones and autonomous water vehicles for long-term missions will be created. The second focus is on the conception of joint courses on the topic of rescue robotics, which will be created in close cooperation with the other university partners and universities of applied sciences in the network.


The International School of Management (ISM) is one of the leading private business schools in Germany. With campuses in Dortmund, Frankfurt/Main, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and Berlin - it has been training young professionals for the global economy since 1990.
Internationality, practical orientation and the teaching of professional and social skills are integrated into the compact degree programme. ISM is characterised by small learning groups and a personal atmosphere. Integrated semesters and modules abroad at one of over 180 partner universities are also part of the programme. The degree programme can be completed full-time, part-time or dual.
Simultaneously with teaching, research and development projects are continuously carried out at ISM in various areas. The concrete reference to areas of activity of companies enables ISM's practical partners to use the new findings to optimise the researched areas.
This creates the opportunity for both sides to distinguish themselves and develop successfully.