PROFACTOR is an Austrian research company located in Steyr and focuses on developing new methods for integrated production technologies. Profactor is the executive organization of the VPTÖ, an association for production in Austria led by CEOs of leading companies (BMW, MAN, VATECH, Hilti, MIBA etc.). Approx. 250 companies are partnering with Profactor. About 85 scientists of various disciplines conduct research to improve the competitiveness of the production industry and to strengthen mainly the Austrian industrial region. Profactor has a broad spectrum of competencies including Intelligent Automation Systems and Embedded Systems. The robotics and machine vision groups at Profactor comprise employees from the fields such as mathematics, computer science, mechatronics, physics and mechanical engineering. This group has gathered extensive experience in machine vision (2D and 3D), autonomous robot systems and human-robot-interaction. The groups have been and are currently coordinating a number of multinational research projects in this field (ActiPret IST-2001-32-184, MultiSens COOP-CT-2004-512688, DynaVis STRP-016429, ECO2PAINTER COOP-2005-017809).
Role in the project: Profactor is the project coordinator, responsible for re-configuration software, 3D task space modelling, task and motion planning.
AUDI AG sold a total of 1,003,450 Audi brand cars in 2008 and thus achieved its 13th consecutive record year. Audi builds vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Györ (Hungary), Changchun (China), Brussels (Belgium), Bratislava (Slovakia) and Aurangabad (India). The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG’s wholly owned subsidiaries include Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. (Sant’Agata Bolognese/Italy) and quattro GmbH (Neckarsulm). Audi employs more than 57,000 employees worldwide, including 46,000 in Germany. The “Future of Audi” agreement guarantees the jobs of the core workforce until 2011. Audi invests more than 2 billion Euro each year in order to sustain the company’s technological lead embodied in its “Vorsprung durch Technik” slogan, with a particular focus on electric drive systems, lightweight aluminum construction and new materials as well as TDI and TFSI power. AUDI AG’s slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik” is not only related to the products, but also to the production technologie. Audi plans to increase the number of models in its portfolio to 40 by 2015.
Role in the project: Audi is providing the test scenario on a lab scale as well as on a mass-production level. Audi is responsible for delivering base data, reviewing the progress regarding the industrial application and supporting the development of a suitable safety-concept.
Heriot-Watt University is a research-led university specialising in science and engineering, business and management, languages and design. Our research covers the full spectrum from fundamental and theoretical studies, through research of immediate relevance to industry and commerce, to practice-based studies. High quality research can be found in each of our seven main Schools, which are configured to provide the maximum of opportunities for multi- and inter-disciplinary programmes.

Together with Edinburgh University, we have formed the Joint Research Institute in Signal and Image Processing ( We deliver outstanding research and technology transfer in several strategic areas, including the theory of digital signal processing in several dimensions, the representation and modelling of sensors and scenes, innovative image and signal processing technologies, image and signal controlled autonomous systems, the development of interactive systems, and signal and image coding and compression. This institute has 22 academic staff, supported by 27 Research Associates and 79 registered PhD students. In the last year, these researchers published 167 research papers in leading academic journals and conferences, and attracted approximately £9 million in new research funding.

Role in the project: The JRISIP (Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities) is responsible for developing and delivering the work package on enhanced sensing and activity interpretation using audio and video sensors.
In 2003 University of Applied Sciences Ingolstadt founded the Institute of Applied Research Ingolstadt (IAF) in order to administrate research projects with industrial partners. Since then five fields of competence were established. One of them is concerned with production engineering and automation. In this field several research projects have been started in cooperation with Audi.
Role in the project: The task of the University of Applied Sciences Ingolstadt in this project is to identify and benchmark a suitable application scenario for mobile robots in the factory of Audi Ingolstadt. Furthermore, a safety concept for the interaction between mobile robots and workers is investigated. A prototype of the concept is implemented and evaluated in the identified application.
ARIAL Lab is the robotics lab in Politecnico di Milano (top-rank technology university with national and international leading activities in Engineering, Architecture and Industrial Design) directed by Prof.Alberto Rovetta with long tradition in industrial, surgical, bio- and space- robotics and systems mechanics (including for example Gilberto, the worldwide first voice-commanded robot, a robotic mechanical hand, a mechatronic leg prosthesis, automatic assembly systems, sensory feedback controlled gloves). Active research fields are related to mobile autonomous robotics, image processing and signal processing, non-linear dynamical system control and neuro-evolution.
Role in the project: Platform design, control software
The University of Edinburgh (UoE) is a research-led University with an international reputation, and has long held a leading place in Science and Engineering research. The research project will be hosted at the Institute for Digital Communications (IDCOM), within the School of Engineering at the UoE. IDCOM comprises 12 academic staff, 19 post-doctoral research associates and over 40 Ph.D. students. The research group has an international reputation for the innovative development and application of advanced signal processing techniques in many areas, including: sparse representations, audio processing, acoustic source separation, nonlinear nonstationary and non-Gaussian signal processing, adaptive filtering, image processing, radar signal processing and MIMO communication.

Together with Heriot-Watt University (HWU), IDCOM forms half of the Joint Research Institute in Signal and Image Processing (JRI-SIP). JRI-SIP was founded in 2005 and currently has 22 academic staff, all active in signal and image processing, and its application to a wide range of fields. These academics are supported by over 100 research staff and students. It therefore forms the single largest group of experts in signal and image processing in the UK. In the last year, these researchers published 167 research papers in leading academic journals and conferences, and attracted approximately £9 million in new research funding. More information can be found at:

Role in the project: The JRISIP (Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities) is responsible for developing and delivering the work package on enhanced sensing and activity interpretation using audio and video sensors.
FerRobotics was founded 2006 as a spin-off of the Johannes Kepler University Linz and is now the worldwide leader in pneumatically driven robots. We develop and produce “sensitive” and physically compliant robots. This new robot concept is based on a worldwide unique and revolutionary technology which has been invented and patented by FerRobotics. Our superior team represents experts in mechatronics, informatics and medical technology. As an highly innovative company our whole infrastructure is laid out to run R&D projects.
Role in the project: FerRobotics will develop a robot arm which is able to cooperate safely with human staff members in the workflow as specified in the overall project.
FESTO produces electric and pneumatic components for automation systems. FESTO is the market leader in this field in Europe and invest 7.5% of its turnover in R&D. The components comprise actuators, valves, air supply devices and all necessary accessories except compressors. FESTO has a long tradition to apply these components to standard tasks in automation as well as in advanced fields. Within the frame-work of advanced systems FESTO has long years of experience in the field of mechatronic design to produce handling and robotic systems on the basis of the standard components. To reach beyond mechanical systems it has developed flexible pneumatic drives that open up a completely new field of applications. Underpinning these activities is the desire to understand and learn from nature in a most efficient way how to develop such flexible structures further in order reach new solutions to technical problems. It is this knowledge that FESTO want to bring into this project and develop it further since many questions involved are still research topic and lead to new frontiers.
Role in the project: Festo is responsible for the build up of the robot arm which works together with the worker
Research and development in Human factors, Ergonomy, Work Psychology, Biomedical Software and Hardware, Work Health and Safety in Industrial Environments.
Role in the Project: Ridgeback will partecipate in : users requirement analysis, human robot interactions, psychological and ergonomical issues, health and safety issues.
Research and development in 3D Simulation of manufacturing systems, especially in modular and reconfigurable systems.
Role in the project: Visual components will work on the simulation and reconfiguration part. It will provide an intuitive engineering environment to quickly set up novel setups.