KUKA Innovation Award

KUKA Innovation Award 2017–
Advanced Mechatronics Challenge

As a world-leader in robot-based automation KUKA has maintained an intense collaboration with academia and R&D partners worldwide on various scientific and technical topics for many years. To take this collaboration to the next level theKUKA Innovation Awardhas been established in 2014 under the patronage of Dr. Bernd Liepert, Chief Innovation Officer of the KUKA group.

It comes with a substantial financial prize of 20,000 €. The competition leading to the Award is intended to accelerate the pace of innovation in the field of robot-based automation at large and improve technology transfers from research to industry.

KUKA offers the finalist teams a free-of-charge LBR iiwa mounted on a flexFellow carrier as well as an optional stereo vision sensor for the duration of the competition. KUKA is partnering with Roboception for providing the vision sensor. The sensor is not yet available as a product so that participants gain early access to an innovative technology. 

Applicants for the Award have to demonstrate an innovative robotic application targeting the topic Advanced Mechatronics. Demonstrations should make use of the provided mechatronic systems and enhance them e.g. with new mechatronic solutions for peripherals such as grippers, new algorithms for control, e.g., vision-based grasping, new types of human-robot interaction and collaboration as well as new ways of robot-robot cooperation.

The focus is on a versatile system design which contains innovative software and hardware components applicable beyond one specific use case.
Proposals for the award must be submitted by October 21, 2016. They need to address the motivation for the solution to be developed, details regarding its realization and an already established proof of concept in a working system.

The proposals will be reviewed and invite the top-ranked teams to present their proposals to an international jury from research and industry in an online session for the selection of 5 finalist teams. Following this selection, each finalist team will sign an agreement to implement its ideas on the provided hardware.

Teams will receive an initial training on the hardware and will be continuously supported and coached by KUKA to be more effective in the implementation phase. Finally, they present the developed solutions to the expert public, the jury and both KUKA top management and senior developers at the international trade show HANNOVER MESSE in April 2017, where the winner will be selected and the Award ceremony will be held. 

All intellectual property generated in the competition belongs to the participants. The participants are encouraged to use their KUKA-sponsored exhibition at HANNOVER MESSE to engage also with third parties to initiate technology transfers and new cooperation projects.

All information concerning the application for the KUKA Innovation Award 2017 is now available here.

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