Financed to the tune of €6M by the European Horizon 2020 programme, the ASSISTANT consortium intends to develop breakthrough solutions for the manufacturing industry, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimise production systems. ASSISTANT was ranked second among the 73 applications submitted in the European Commission's call for projects, with a score of 14.5/15, including an exceptional score of 5/5 on the criterion of scientific excellence.
Steered by the teacher-researchers from the Department of Automation, Productivity and Computer Science (DAPI / UMR CNRS LS2N) at IMT Atlantique, the ASSISTANT project brings together eleven academic and industrial partners combining key competencies in artificial intelligence, optimization, production management, industrial engineering and robotics (1).
ASSISTANT (LeArning and robuSt deciSIon SupporT sytem for agile mANufacTuring environments) is one of only 8 projects selected during the European Commission's ICT-38-2020 call "AI for manufacturing", as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. ASSISTANT should enable factories of the future to take full advantage of digital transformation and the benefits of Artificial Intelligence or rather, as underscored by those involved in this project, of Augmented Intelligence. The solutions aim to place company personnel at the heart of the decision-making process in the most informed way possible. ASSISTANT combines scientific excellence and a philosophical reflection on the future of work and factories, fully respecting the ethical principles supported by the European Commission regarding the use of Artificial Intelligence.
Tools and solutions for informed decisions
The work conducted by IMT Atlantique researchers and their partners is aimed at developing the computer tools that will be used to design and control complex, collaborative and reconfigurable production systems. The objective is to provide all the information production managers to enable them to design production lines, plan manufacturing and improve machine settings. And to make effective and sustainable decisions that take into account sources of uncertainty and guarantee product quality, safety and the well-being of workers. To achieve this, the researchers intend to create intelligent digital twins (a virtual copy of the company updated in real time) that synthesize decision support tools. By combining human and machine intelligence, ASSISTANT should significantly improve the flexibility, responsiveness, quality and robustness of manufacturing systems. To achieve this, the project relies on the synergy between intelligent digital twins, optimization, simulation and automatic learning.
From left to right : Thomas Yeung, Alexandre Dolgui, Nicolas Beldiceanu, Simon Thevenin and Julien Prud'homme.
A cross-disciplinary project affirming the presence of IMT Atlantique in European Research
ASSISTANT is the 2nd European project coordinated by IMT Atlantique in the last 2 years, and the result of significant investment by the school to develop its presence within the H2020 programme. Professor Alexandre Dolgui, head of the Department of Automation, Productivity and Computer Science, ensures the scientific coordination of the project along with his team: Professor Nicolas Beldiceanu, assistant professor Simon Thevenin, and assistant professor Thomas Yeung, with supporting expertise from Professor Romain Billot of the LUSSI Department (UMR CNRS LABSTICC). IMT Transfert, an IMT subsidiary and administrator of the Big Data Teralab platform, completes the IMT Atlantique team. The project has benefited from extensive support from the school's Research and Innovation Department, in particular Julien Prud'homme, head of European programmes and IMT Atlantique's strategic partners in Europe.
(1) University College Cork (Ireland), University of Patras - Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation (Greece), Flanders Make (Belgium), Technical University of Munich (Germany), Biti Innovations AB (Sweden), SIEMENS AG (Germany), INTRASOFT International (Luxemburg), Atlas Copco (Belgium), SIEMENS Energy (Germany), Groupe PSA (France).
by Pierre-Hervé VAILLANT