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26.01.2023 17:05

EU Project IntelliMan – How robots will learn in the future

Emmanuelle Rouard Presse- & Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Bayerische Forschungsallianz GmbH

    Developing an AI-controlled manipulation system for advanced robot services

    Munich/Bologna (Italy) - The potential of intelligent, AI-controlled robots that "give a helping hand" to people in hospitals, care facilities for the elderly and children, factories, restaurants, the service industry and households is enormous. However, an intelligent and interactive robot can only be effective if it can react flexibly to different environments and situations.
    It therefore needs to be able to learn – and this presents an attainable challenge for researchers and developers. The EU-funded research and innovation project IntelliMan aims to develop such intelligent and learning robots. Thirteen partners from six countries are working together on the project, coordinated by the Università di Bologna (Italy). The EU is supporting the project with EUR 4.5 million under the European framework programme for research and innovation, "Horizon Europe".

    In recent decades, research into intelligent, interactive and learning robotics has picked up speed tremendously. Robotic arms and robot grippers for machines that can interact directly and autonomously with their environment are increasingly becoming both available and affordable. However, how these autonomous systems are able to learn new skills will be a key question in the future, as the real world has too many variations for a robot to create an accurate model in advance of all human wishes and behaviours, its environment, the objects within it or the skills needed to handle them.

    The next generation of robotic manipulation systems should be able to autonomously perform tasks with limited human supervision and interact with objects regardless of their material, size and shape through artificial intelligence. By interacting with people and the environment, these systems should simultaneously acquire new knowledge that enables their use for unforeseen tasks that have not been pre-programmed. This use ranges from industrial production to logistics, as well as service robotics and portable devices such as exoskeletons and prostheses. This means that these robot systems must learn and comply with certain safety requirements – i.e. they must recognise when they cannot complete a task under the applicable safety requirements in order to create a "level of trust" between humans and robots.

    "The IntelliMan project focuses on how a robot can learn efficiently to perform tasks in a targeted, high-performance and safe manner," says Prof. Gianluca Palli, coordinator of the IntelliMan project at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Information Technology "Guglielmo Marconi" at the Università di Bologna (Italy). "The robot should learn skills to interact with people, objects and their environment and develop abstract interaction scenarios based on these skills. The robot should also be able to derive properties and functionalities of the objects via targeted interaction. Perception and acceptance by users should be taken into account at all times."

    In complex and various application scenarios, IntelliMan scientists want to investigate problems of gripping and placing flexible objects: in upper arm prosthetics, in everyday kitchen activities, in the flexible production of cable sets for automotive cable harnesses and in the handling of fresh food for supermarket logistics applications. This heterogeneous set of usage scenarios with a wide variety of challenges should enable the development of different solutions for the interaction problem.

    About the EU project IntelliMan

    The IntelliMan consortium consists of 13 internationally recognised scientific and industrial partners from six countries (Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom). They come from the fields of AI, robotics, information and communication technologies (ICT), as well as social sciences, humanities and economics, and work together in an interdisciplinary manner in the project coordinated by the Università di Bologna (Italy). The EU is supporting the project with EUR 4.5 million under the European framework programme for research and innovation, "Horizon Europe".

    From Bavaria, the German Aerospace Center (, the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg ( and the Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR – are participating in IntelliMan. They are being funded with approximately EUR 1.2 million in total.

    For more information:

    About the Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR)

    During the application phase, BayFOR ( supported the coordinator and the consortium in the technical and content-related conceptual design of the EU application as well as in clarifying financial and administrative issues. As a funded partner, BayFOR assists with project management in IntelliMan and handles communication with the public and interested expert groups (dissemination and communication).

    The Bavarian Research Alliance, which is supported by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts, provides advice and comprehensive support to Bavarian stakeholders from science and industry (in particular SMEs) on acquiring European funding for research, development and innovation. The focus is on the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe ( BayFOR is a partner in the Enterprise Europe Network ( and in the Bavarian Research and Innovation Agency (

    IntelliMan profile

    Project name: IntelliMan (grant agreement no. 101070136) – AI-Powered Manipulation System for Advanced Robotic Service, Manufacturing and Prosthetics
    Duration: 09/2022-03/2026

    Coordination: Università di Bologna, Italy (

    Project partners:

    German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany (
    Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany (
    Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain (
    Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy (
    Università degli Studi della Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Italy (
    Eurecat Centre Tecnològic, Spain (
    Istituto nazionale per l’assicurazione contro gli infortuni sul lavoro (INAIL), Italy (
    ELVEZ, Slovenia (
    OCADO Group, United Kingdom (
    Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR), Germany (
    IDIAP, Switzerland (
    University of Zurich, Switzerland (

    Project coordinator: Prof. Gianluca Palli, Università di Bologna, Italy
    Programme: Horizon Europe
    Total project amount: EUR 6 million
    Funding: European Union

    Press contacts

    Project coordinator:
    Prof. Gianluca Palli
    Università di Bologna, Italy
    Department of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Information Technology "Guglielmo Marconi"
    Telephone: +39 (0) 51 20 9 3186

    At BayFOR:

    MBA Gabriela Blumberger
    Scientific Officer and Project Manager IntelliMan
    Unit ICT, Engineering & Natural Sciences
    Phone: +49 (0) 89 9901888-132

    Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. Dan Gutu
    Scientific Officer
    Unit ICT, Engineering & Natural Sciences
    Phone: +49 (0) 89 9901888-136

    Emmanuelle Rouard
    Head of Public Relations
    Phone: +49 (0) 89 9901888-111

    Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CNECT. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

    Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

    Prof. Gianluca Palli
    Università di Bologna, Italy
    Department of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Information Technology "Guglielmo Marconi"
    Telephone: +39 (0) 51 20 9 3186

    Weitere Informationen: (pictures in high resolution available for download)


    EU project IntelliMan
    EU project IntelliMan

    © Yingyaipumi/AdobeStock

    Logo IntelliMan
    Logo IntelliMan

    © IntelliMan

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