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A Berlin company has been contracted to work on the “Lunar Gateway” joint project of the space agencies of the USA, Europe, Japan, and Canada. According to Wirtschaftswoche, Berlin firm Space Structures has been commissioned to work on the living module of the planned space station that is set to orbit the moon from 2024. The Lunar Gateway project is a central component of the Artemis program to explore moon colonization conducted by US space agency NASA. Space Structures specializes in developing the lightest and most compact parts possible for space travel. According to Wirtschaftswoche, this technology will now be used to develop and manufacture the inner structure of the space module.
Air cab pioneer Volocopter demonstrated its “Volodrone” or cargo unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the ITS World Congress in late 2021. The 10 meter-wide, two-meter high UAV reached a height of 22 meters carrying a loading box with a pallet-sized cargo. According to Volocopter and logistics partner DB Schenker, the cargo drone will be capable of transporting loads of up to 200 kg up to distances of 40 km per hour. The end-to-end freight demonstration is proof of how cargo drones can be integrated into existing logistics supply chains according to the two companies.
The Institute of Technical Logistics at the Technical University of Hamburg has developed a driverless delivery shuttle and robot that takes the bus before completing the last mile of its journey on its own. Part of the ITS “TaBuLa-LOG” anchor project, the robot – dubbed “Laura” – transports internal post for various local authorities as part of the research initiative to determine the technical feasibility and public acceptance of robots in the public space. According to the ITS, the TaBuLa shuttle acts as a mother ship, driving the delivery robots close to their end destination, letting them off at bus stops to complete their journey. The project is one of several research projects currently underway in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region in receipt of more than EUR 3 million in funding as part of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure’s “Automated and Connected Driving” and “Sustainable Mobility System for the Future through Automated Driving and Networking” programs.
A start-up in the university city of Constance has developed a smart harvesting robot capable of scanning, recognizing, sorting, placing and packing fruit in just eight seconds. The six-axis robot, developed by Organifarms, makes use of a 360 degree camera to identify fruit and determine its level of ripeness and harvest class. The company has ambitious plans to develop a range of robots for pollination, plant care and fruit monitoring in order to make indoor vertical farming more efficient and sustainable.
A start-up in Rostock is building modular diving robots that can be individually adapted to a wide variety of application scenarios. Operating out of the Ocean Technology Campus in the coastal city, Framework Robotics claims that its modular surface and underwater sensor platforms have created a new benchmark and standard that help reduce costs compared to established systems on the market. Typical application environments include offshore wind farming, deep sea wells, fish farming, and environmental data collection.
Researchers at the Bremen Institute for Production and Logistics (BIBA) have designed an intelligent conveyor technology for production and logistics. Spin-off company Cellumation’s “celluveyor” assembly line solution makes use of a cellular solution to accelerate and digitalize the conveying process. According to the company, the development is equivalent to the creation of the Lego bricks of conveyor technology, with revolutionary potential for the market. The company has grown quickly, with a workforce of 65 employees supporting customers from across Europe.
A Stuttgart-based start-up has developed a digital procurement platform for industrial SMEs and metal construction companies that provides a unified purchasing and sales solution. Clients configure and calculate their order requirements using the Laserhub platform that provides access to more than 80 producers in the company’s manufacturing network. Laserhub provides production quotes in real time on a commission basis, allowing purchasing and delivery times to be made more efficient.
Established in 2009 as s spin-off from the Institute for Materials at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, smart materials producer Ingpuls has announced a series of double-digit million euro joint ventures with industries in individual sectors. Initially active in the automotive sector, the Bochum venture has crossed over into household appliances, space technology and building services engineering. The company enjoys a special place in production as the only shape memory alloy manufacturer in Germany capable of spanning the whole vertical manufacturing range from raw materials to finished components.