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Plan-based robot control research department in Lower Saxony gets co-head with Prof. Dr. Martin Atzmüller

| Press release | Farming & Agricultural Technology | Autonomous Systems | Machine Learning & Deep Learning | Robotics | Plan-Based Robot Control | Osnabrück / Oldenburg

The Plan-Based Robot Control research department, which is located at the Lower Saxony site of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), has been jointly headed by Prof. Dr. Joachim Hertzberg and Prof. Dr. Martin Atzmüller since January 1, 2024. Hertzberg, who has built up the DFKI research department with a close connection to the application domain of agrifood in Osnabrück since 2011, will hand over full responsibility to Atzmüller upon retiring in October.

© DFKI, Annemarie Popp
Martin Atzmüller (left) has led the Plan-Based Robot Control research department together with Joachim Hertzberg (right) since January 1, 2024.

The new year begins with a new addition to the management team at DFKI Niedersachsen. Martin Atzmüller, who holds an endowed professorship in Semantic Information Systems - funded by the ROSEN Group - at the University of Osnabrück, will from now on share responsibility for the 59-strong team at DFKI Niedersachsen and for the further development of the Plan-Based Robot Control research area. Atzmüller's research interests include the interpretation of complex data and machine learning while taking semantic knowledge into account. For example, by integrating additional information that humans can understand, robots that collect complex real-time data via their sensors can find their way around environments better. A robot that has been instructed by a person to bring a drink can not only recognize the bottle on the table, but also conclude that the person could drink from it.

In the field of agrifood, which includes agriculture and food processing and is considered to be particularly data- and knowledge-intensive, Martin Atzmüller's AI research has a wide variety of applications. In a current project at the University of Osnabrück, he is working on determining the shelf life of fruit and vegetables in supply chains through the knowledge-driven use of data such as hyperspectral data and sensor data. Atzmüller is also the spokesperson for the Joint Lab Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at Osnabrück University, a graduate college with the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB) in Potsdam. He has been affiliated with the DFKI research department Plan-Based Robot Control since 2021 and has already been involved in project acquisition and several research projects in recent years. His research has taken him to the Université Sorbonne Paris Nord in France and Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Atzmüller received his PhD in computer science from the University of Würzburg in 2006 and habilitated at the University of Kassel in 2013.

"With Martin Atzmüller, the Plan-Based Robot Control research department will have a leader who works at the highest scientific level and is an excellent fit for the profile of our department. He is already very familiar with the group. His efforts to establish AI in the field of agriculture and to continue to investigate this combination in his research are particularly worth mentioning. I am delighted that we will be leading the division together in the coming months and that it will continue to exist with the best prospects. Martin will provide many new impulses in the future," explains Joachim Hertzberg.

Martin Atzmüller: "I am very grateful for the trust that has been placed in me and look forward with enthusiasm to the task of leading the successful research department Plan-Based Robot Control together with Joachim Hertzberg and ultimately taking over its leadership. I am eager to work with an extremely competent scientific and administrative team and partners from the agrifood industry. DFKI is a perfect platform for the modern interplay between applied AI research and fundamental questions. Joachim has created a unique connection to the users in the region, which I absolutely want to maintain and further expand. I am very excited for the time ahead and our future projects."

Joachim Hertzberg will retire from DFKI in fall 2024 after 13 years. In 2011, he laid the foundation for the fourth DFKI location in Germany with a branch office of the Bremen DFKI Robotics Innovation Center (RIC) in Osnabrück. After a three-year laboratory phase, the Lower Saxony site opened in July 2022. It consists of four research departments spread across the two sites in Oldenburg (Marine Perception and Interactive Machine Learning) and Osnabrück (Plan-Based Robot Control and Smart Enterprise Engineering).