Six large domestic and international companies that operate in various Brazilian industrial sectors have joined a government-backed research and development project involving artificial intelligence (AI) for manufacturing, or industry 4.0.
Bosch, Braskem, Klabin, Siemens, Siemens Energy and Stellantis are joining forces to develop the IAsmin platform, an AI center coordinated by Brazil’s technological research institute IPT in partnership with 28 national and international universities and institutions.
The project falls under Brazil's AI policy and will add to another six AI centers focused on other sectors of the economy.
All of the centers have been approved in public tenders by São Paulo’s research support agency FAPESP and the ministry of science, technology and innovations (MCTI), with public funding and partnerships with the private sector.
FAPESP and the MCTI will allocate 5mn reais (US$1mn) of a planned total of 15mn reais for implementation of the new IPT center.
According to the MCTI, the center is expected to generate around 50mn reais of investments in project developments in the first stage of operation.
“The goal is to equip the national productive sector with advanced tools, developing AI for the implementation and consolidation of industry 4.0 in the country,” Jefferson de Oliveira Gomes, IPT CEO and the researcher responsible for the industry 4.0 project, said in an online event.
The research lines will include real-time monitoring and control, autonomous robotics and machine-tool systems, prescriptive maintenance, digital twins, chain interoperability and integration and cybersecurity.
Siemens’ innovation director José Borges Frias said that the implementation of the center with a focus on industry 4.0 at the IPT is extremely important for the Brazilian industrial and infrastructure segments.
“Being part of this project … is in line with our strategic pillar of ‘technology with purpose’, which is aimed at digital transformation in these segments. New technologies have revolutionized companies' business models and having a space focused on AI is a big step towards expanding innovation initiatives in the country's productive sector and infrastructure,” the executive said in a statement.
Bruno Bragazza, head of innovation and new business at Bosch Latin America, praised the move and said the company had invested 5.9bn euros in R&D globally in 2020.
In Latin America, Bosch generates around 7bn reais in annual revenues in 11 countries, the bulk of which come from Brazil, where Bosch has its only innovation center in the region and where it also develops its own AI projects, Bragazza said during the online launch.
"The company is going through the biggest transformation in its history. In the coming years, Bosch is working to become the global leader in AIoT – the bundle of artificial intelligence and the internet of things."
Bosch has developed its own cloud, the Bosch IoT cloud, with "tens of millions of devices already connected and generating intelligence," Bragazza said.
Brazilian research and industrial innovation company Embrapii is also collaborating on the project. Igor Nazareth, deputy secretary of innovation at the economy ministry and planning director at Embrapii, said during the presentation that, of the 1,237 corporate RD&I projects supported by Embrapii to date and involving some 1.8bn reais, 18% were in the area of AI, totaling 238mn reais in investments.
The IAsmin platform will include the participation of 73 associate researchers and eight associated international research institutions, including the Fraunhofer Society in Germany, the University of Southern Denmark, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Universidade do Minho in Portugal and RWTH Aachen University in Germany.