Technical University of Munich

Assembly Line

AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Florian Leutert, David Bohlig, Florian Kempf

🔖 Topics: Autonomous Production, In-orbit Factory

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

🏢 Organizations: Zentrum für Telematik, Technical University of Munich


With the ever increasing number of active satellites in space, the rising demand for larger formations of small satellites and the commercialization of the space industry (so-called New Space), the realization of manufacturing processes in orbit comes closer to reality. Reducing launch costs and risks, allowing for faster on-demand deployment of individually configured satellites as well as the prospect for possible on-orbit servicing for satellites makes the idea of realizing an in-orbit factory promising. In this paper, we present a novel approach to an in-orbit factory of small satellites covering a digital process twin, AI-based fault detection, and teleoperated robot-control, which are being researched as part of the “AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory” project. In addition to the integration of modern automation and Industry 4.0 production approaches, the question of how artificial intelligence (AI) and learning approaches can be used to make the production process more robust, fault-tolerant and autonomous is addressed. This lays the foundation for a later realisation of satellite production in space in the form of an in-orbit factory. Central aspect is the development of a robotic AIT (Assembly, Integration and Testing) system where a small satellite could be assembled by a manipulator robot from modular subsystems. Approaches developed to improving this production process with AI include employing neural networks for optical and electrical fault detection of components. Force sensitive measuring and motion training helps to deal with uncertainties and tolerances during assembly. An AI-guided teleoperated control of the robot arm allows for human intervention while a Digital Process Twin represents process data and provides supervision during the whole production process. Approaches and results towards automated satellite production are presented in detail.

Read more at arXiv

Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0—Inception, conception and perception

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Xun Xu, Yuqian Lu, Birgit Vogel-Heuser, Lihui Wang

🔖 Topics: digital transformation, industry v5

🏢 Organizations: University of Auckland, Technical University of Munich, KTH Royal Institute of Technology


Industry 4.0, an initiative from Germany, has become a globally adopted term in the past decade. Many countries have introduced similar strategic initiatives, and a considerable research effort has been spent on developing and implementing some of the Industry 4.0 technologies. At the ten-year mark of the introduction of Industry 4.0, the European Commission announced Industry 5.0. Industry 4.0 is considered to be technology-driven, whereas Industry 5.0 is value-driven. The co-existence of two Industrial Revolutions invites questions and hence demands discussions and clarifications. We have elected to use five of these questions to structure our arguments and tried to be unbiased for the selection of the sources of information and for the discussions around the key issues. It is our intention that this article will spark and encourage continued debate and discussion around these topics.

Read more at ScienceDirect