Projeto Theia
31 Oct 2023
Theia Project from Bosch-University of Porto © consortium

Bosch: "The convergence of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things makes perfect sense"

Industry 4.0, medicine, mobility, smart cities and smart home are some of the areas with the most opportunities linked to AIoT, says Nelson Ferreira, head of Industry 4.0 at Bosch.


The German manufacturer has in Portugal an important center for the development of solutions aimed at sectors such as automotive and industry 4.0. These are areas in which the application of Artificial Intelligence has tremendous potential, especially in convergence with Internet of Things technologies. This is what Nelson Ferreira, responsible for the Industry 4.0 area at Bosch, tells Dinheiro Vivo.

"Advanced real-world sensing will open up new frontiers – new types of sensors – and have access to a wide, real-time set of new data," he explains. "With this even greater abundance of data, the convergence of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things makes perfect sense," he says. "IoT collecting relevant information and creating a 'digital model' and AI processing that data in real-time and creating new relevant insights."

This convergence, which has been called the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), was the theme of the recent Vodafone Business Conference in Lisbon.

Nelson Ferreira explains that the concept is being explored "and offers numerous opportunities" in areas such as industry 4.0, medicine, mobility, smart cities or smart home. At the same time, it poses challenges of ethics, legality, data confidentiality, and others.

At Bosch in Portugal, one of the main areas of research is automotive. According to Stefan Weissert, Head of Innovation at Bosch Braga, AIoT has the ability to accelerate the development of autonomous systems.

"It enables software-defined vehicles, faster value creation by adapting to customer behavior and needs, and all in much shorter development cycles," he says.

Weissert believes that most customer-facing functions will benefit from software-defined vehicles. "The biggest game-changer will be autonomous driving," he says.

That's what Bosch is all about. "We continue to have a strong focus on developing ADAS [advanced driver assistance systems] in Portugal, benefiting from software-defined vehicles and developing data-driven AIoT solutions." A recent example was the THEIA project - Perception for autonomous driving, recently completed in partnership with the University of Porto. It took three years, represented an investment of 28 million euros and focused on the development of advanced algorithms so that vehicles accurately perceive everything around them.

Bosch is also working on so-called "Economy of Things" applications, such as parking and automatic payments, in which vehicles carry out commercial transactions autonomously.


The Biggest Opportunities in Industry 4.0
Nelson Ferreira identifies 7 opportunities generated by AIoT focused on the industry.

The first is the extraction of insights from the massive amounts of data generated by IoT sensors and devices, which helps make better decisions. It's "basically the advent of the hyper-connected organization," he says.

The second is predictive maintenance, as AI can predict when connected machines might fail and intervene before then. Bosch Thermotechnology applies this to its equipment, reducing downtime and maintenance costs. Sensing also makes it possible to have new business models, such as machines-as-a-service.

Another opportunity lies in automating functions. In smart factories, AI can turn equipment on or off, adjust climate or lighting based on occupancy and pre-parameterized preferences. This is what Bosch Termotecnologia and the University of Aveiro did, developing an energy assistant with the ability to predict consumption and suggest optimization actions in the Augmanity project.

Personalization is another opportunity. In industry, a user can ask natural language-based applications for something, such as identifying advancing bottleneck processes; a maintenance technician might ask an AI model for diagnostics to repair a broken machine and so on.

There is also room for more preventive health care for industrial workers, which will make it possible to correct incorrect postures and minimize fatigue.

On the other hand, AI-powered IoT sensors provide real-time industrial process data, which aids in environmental and context monitoring. And they also contribute to the optimization of the value chain, analyzing data that leads to the reduction of supply costs and waste and anticipating critical situations.


What about the challenges?
The benefits do not invalidate the challenges, which Nelson Ferreira considers important to address. He cites data security issues, privacy concerns, scalability and interoperability, integration complexity, energy consumption of IoT sensors, and ethical and legal considerations.

"The convergence of AI and IoT has the potential to transform industries, as well as our lives, but to reap the full benefits, it is important to mitigate risks and address the associated challenges," says the expert. "This requires a multidisciplinary approach involving technology, security, ethics and regulation."

For him, the countries and organizations "that know how to take advantage of the advantages that this technological convergence is creating" will win.


Font: dinheiro vivo