About robots, robot development
and those who make it happen


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  • SmartBot is an innovative cross-border robotics project involving twenty-four partners collaborating from Germany and The Netherlands. Together, these companies and institutions are creating a global knowledge hot spot in the field of robotic sensing.

    Research Areas

    SmartBot comprises three main areas of research and development:

    • RoboShip is aimed at perfecting an intelligent robot to inspect and repair the ballast water tanks of large ships.  
    • SInBot is exploring the use of intelligent industrial robots in production.
    • AgroBot is developing semi-autonomous robot systems that can aid in farm production without damaging the environment.

    Collectively, the SmartBot projects highlight the idea that contact and non-contact multi sensor robotics platforms can assist in work that is too dangerous or labour intensive for humans.

    In the not too distant future, these robotic platforms may be used to selectively weed crop fields or intelligently inspect and organize manufactured goods, as well as for probing work areas that are difficult for a human labour force to access.

    The resulting efficiencies can then be used to conserve resources or standardize and streamline production. While most of this technology is still in the experimental stages, some multiple sensor robots have already been in limited use during the past few years.

    Research Partners

    The partners in the SmartBot project come from both the industry and academic sectors. The academic partners focus on the algorithms and software structure needed to realize cooperation between the robots and the data in order to perform complex tasks while the industrial partners contribute their extensive knowledge of industrial production systems and environments.

    This combination of academic and business partners has resulted in the realization of several prototypes and virtual simulations that prove the feasibility of the SmartBot projects in a real production environment.

    Lead partners on the industrial side include Coevorden-based Axum Engineering; the independent advisory and research partner for the vegetative sectors, DVL plant; developer and global supplier of 3D motion tracking products, Xsens; and the venerable German shipping company Meyer Werft GmbH.

    Lead partners on the institutional side include Assen-based INCAS; the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science at Osnabruck University, the STODT practice centre for advanced technology, and the Westfälische Hochschule of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen, among many others. 


    Supported by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Structural Funds program as well as a number of regional governmental funds, SmartBot is being acclaimed as a new way for key sectors to share individual expertise and knowledge bases in an effort to build new capacities and possibilities in an era of economic instability.

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