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Symbolfoto: Das AIT ist Österreichs größte außeruniversitäre Forschungseinrichtung

Autonomous working machines


Patrik Zips, new "Senior Scientist" at the AIT Center for Vision, Automation & Control, is setting up a test site in Seibersdorf where autonomous working machines can be further developed and tested.

The automation of excavators, cranes, forklifts & Co is a strategic research goal of the AIT Center for Vision, Automation & Control (VAC). In the future, the autonomous machines will support humans and take over heavy, dangerous or monotonous tasks.



The task "Drive to the timber, grab the timber and bring it to the truck!" is a clearly defined and easily solvable task for humans. For machines, this has hardly been possible so far. Nevertheless, this task will be probably soon solvable for working machines in an automated way - thanks to the research achievements at the Center for Vision, Automation & Control (VAC).

Behind the seemingly simple command lie many complex research questions. They include, for example, control of hydraulic components and the mechanical system, reliable task and motion planning including localization and determination of self-position even in changing environments, correct gripping of objects, robust perception of the environment - i.e., even in poor visibility due to dirt and weather - and AI-based object classification for correct interpretation of the environment, to name a few.


OpenAir Lab for Automated Work Machines in Seibersdorf

Under the direction of Patrik Zips, who was recently appointed a "Senior Scientist", Center VAC is currently setting up a test site for autonomous working machines in Seibersdorf - similar to the test infrastructure of Digitrans (www.digitrans.expert), where autonomous vehicles are put through their paces. In addition to corresponding conversion work on the site and the installation of research infrastructure, a crane and a forklift truck were equipped with special sensor technology and computing units.

In the future, the machines will be used to validate research and test different work tasks. In this way, the center aims to advance its technologies and strengthen its international leadership position. The test site is scheduled to go into operation in summer 2022.




Patrik Zips
Senior Scientist
Complex Dynamical Systems
Center for Vision, Automation & Control