Main research areas at the CAR

Applied Computer Science and Geoinformatics

Projects in this area include:

Intelligent Tutoring Interface for Technology Enhanced Learning INTUITEL


Project Director: Prof. Dr. Peter A. Henning

Funding by: EU

Duration: 01.10.2012 – 30.06.2015


The multinational eLearning research project "Intelligent Tutoring Interface for Technology Enhanced Learning", or INTUITEL for short, commenced in October 2012. With funding of 2.9 million euros and an interdisciplinary team of twelve partner institutions in Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Spain, INTUITEL aims to enhance Learning Management Systems (LMS) with features that so far have been provided only by human tutors. Based on this new, integrated technology, unprecedented individual support will be given to learners during the learning process in e-learning environments. This closes a gap, making it much easier for students to complete e-learning courses and to receive personalized support without being deprived of their personal flexibility in terms of time and location.

Using INTUITEL, all data on the learner and the content that is stored to the LMS shall be enriched with additional information. In this context, information on the access device, the current learning environment, and, most importantly, general and subject-related educational models will be included in order to provide an overall picture of the individual learning situation. As a result, personalized learning recommendations can be created for each learner, so that they are effectively guided through the learning content.

Over the course of the three-year research project, the members of the project consortium, who are experts in the fields of e-learning, education and computer science, want to achieve the following four fundamental objectives:

  1. Definition of an ontology based on semantic web technologies for computer-readable descriptions of learning models and domain-specific knowledge.
  2. Specification of the interface description on how INTUITEL can be integrated into a Learning Management System, including the implementation in several commercial (e.g. CLIX, eXact learning LCMS and Crayons) and free e-learning platforms (e.g. ILIAS and Moodle)
  3. Description of the new container format SLOM designed to manage learning content and educational information.
  4. Implementation of the INTUITEL backend for the generation of personalized learning recommendations.





INTUITEL is co-financed by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme Grant Agreement No. 318496

Learning Layers

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Andreas P. Schmidt

Duration: 01.11.2012 - 31.10.2016

Funding by: EU


Mobile and social information and communication media are virtually indispensable in today’s world. We use mobile devices and social networks as a matter of course to remain in contact with friends, search for information, make purchases and organize our work. In fact, these technologies could also play a pivotal role in informal learning.

However, only a few companies deploy them systematically in their training and further education programs. Beyond traditional training methods, there is significant potential particularly for informal learning – quick help by colleagues, a brief summary or a video recorded using a smartphone, which will help someone else. While informal learning works well in a small group of colleagues it doesn’t extend well to large networks – and that’s where LAYERS will be used.

However, this scaling gives rise to problems that are analyzed and solved both on a conceptual basis as well as by applying easy to use technology. Predominantly, mobile solutions will be developed that enable fast, specific access to other persons’ experience and facilitate joint usage, sharing and further development of materials (such as photos, videos and documents).

Clusters of small and medium-sized companies in two industrial sectors in which technology-aided learning in its current form has not been very well received – healthcare and the construction industry – will be the pilot users.

Scalable GIS for Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics BigGIS

Project Director: Dr.-Ing. Jens Nimis

Funded by: BMBF

Duration: 01.04.2015 – 31.03.2018


Current GIS solution are mostly tackling big data related requirements in terms of data volume or data velocity. Although scaling out enables GIS to tackle the aforementioned big data induced requirements, there are still two major open issues. Firstly, dealing with varying data types across multiple data sources (variety) lead to data and schema heterogeneity. Secondly, modeling the inherent uncertainties in data (veracity). By leveraging the the continuous refinement model, we present a holistic approach that explicitly deals with all big data dimensions.


Project Director: Prof. Dr. Gertrud Schaab

Funded by:     BMBF

Duration:      01.06.07 - 31.08.10


GIS and Remote Sensing in Support of Biodiversity Management at the Landscape Scale for Rainforests in Eastern Africa


FleXible Production Experts for reconfigurable aSSembly technology

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Norbert Link

Funded by: EU

Duration: 01.01.07 - 31.12.10

The goal of XPRESS is to establish a breakthrough for the factory of the future with a new flexible production concept. This concept is based on the generic idea of “specialised intelligent process units” (“Expertons”) which are integrated in cross-sectoral learning networks for a customised production.

Expertons are a combination of different classical hardware and software components of assembly processes like robots or human controlled machines with an advanced knowledge system. This gives them the intelligence to choose the best known production parameters for a given task. As a result Assembly units composed of Expertons can flexibly perform varying types of complex tasks, whereas today this is limited to a few pre-defined tasks.

By sharing the specific knowledge of each Experton in a network, Expertons are able to learn from each other in one production line. Moreover this enables,learning between different lines as well as different production units. As a consequence this architecture allows continuous process improvement.

With this concept, XPRESS meets the challenge to integrate intelligence and flexibility at the “highest” level of the production control system as well as at the “lowest” level of the singular machine.

With the XPRESS Expertons, manufacturers will be able to anticipate and to respond to rapidly changing consumer needs by offering high-quality products in adequate quantities at reduced costs.

The feasibility of the concept will be demonstrated in the automotive, aeronautics and electrical industry but it can be transferred to nearly all production processes.

Within three Work Sections, the following major objectives are envisaged:

1. Production Configuration and Simulation:

Decrease of ramp-up time for the set-up of production lines up to 50%, by providing a high performance simulation tool with a dynamic self-learning environment and a modular structure

Optimisation up to 10% of the product cycle time of existing production lines through reverse engineering

Flexible reaction on process disturbances and bottle-neck identification

2. Experton guided Production flow

Decrease of changeover time up to 80%

Flexible reaction to unexpected production volumes in case of manual production tasks

Up to 100% reusability of assembly equipment

3. Expertonic Machines and Human Integration

Reducing the effort needed for setting up the individual basic handling, fixation, joining and transport processes,

Providing different quality assurance systems for these processes,

Reacting intelligently on disturbances and

Providing a factory-wide process monitoring system.

The first project year was dedicated to the definition of the main concepts of the Experton Framework. Several specifications have been worked out for the design of the Production Expertons, the embedding of real-time techniques, access to knowledge bases etc. Furthermore, different already existing technologies have been proven suitable for the Experton communication and Expertons knowledge bases. Great effort has been made in the field of human integration. Video tracking software and hardware have been developed, and different quality monitoring methods for the precision monitoring of the workers tool position (by the usage of Hidden Markov Models and knn-Analysis) have been investigated. A first functional sample of the worker integration for the video tracking of a welding gun has been presented in the 1st Year Partners Meeting.

The XPRESS technology may be implemented in already existing manufacturing lines. Thus it will offer enterprises the opportunity to move towards flexible production with all the benefits named above without having to build a completely new production line. In order to support a wider up-take, the XPRESS technologies will be standardised. This will pave the way to the establishment of Expertonic networked factories. Besides the connected economic advantages, human integration will improve the safety of the working staff while ate the same time opening up new employment opportunities. While the 100% quality control will allow reducing waste and energy consumption, it is a major step towards high quality customised production.

A dedicated website and press releases inform the interested public about XPRESS. Scientific and technological results will be disseminated on conferences and fairs and in publications. In total three public status colloquia will be held during conferences. For researchers, end-users and clients training activities with respect to the XPRESS technologies are foreseen at the end of the project.

The XPRESS consortium consists of 17 partners from 9 European countries, including companies, research institutes and universities. Six of the ten companies are SMEs. The overall budget of express is about 13 Mio. €.

Structural Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Process Engineering

Projects in this area include:

Integrated aquaculture based on sustainable water recirculating system for the Victoria Lake Basin (VicInAqua)

Project Director: Prof. Jan Hoinkis

Funded by: EU

Duration: 01.06.2016 - 31.05.2019

Homepage:, information video

A total of ten partners from Europe and Africa have joined forces to develop a sustainable, combined water purification system for fish farming in the Lake Victoria region. In addition to HsKA, German project partners include the Steinbeis Europa-Zentrum and BPE International. European partners are the Institute on Membrane Technology (Italy), the University of Calabria and the companies AquaBioTech (Malta) and OXYGUARD International (Denmark). Moreover, African experts from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya), the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Development (Kenya) and the National Agricultural Research Organization (Uganda) participate in this project.

The aim is to develop and test a sustainable, combined water treatment system for recirculating systems in fish farming and wastewater treatment of industrial and domestic sewage. The three-year project, which runs under the EU’s framework program "Horizon 2020", is funded with €3 million.

Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world. It is of great importance to the three riparian countries, i.e. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; the lake’s freshwater reservoir is essential to fisheries, industry and tourism. However, the Lake Victoria region is currently threatened by overfishing and eutrophication caused by industrial wastewater. The increasing number of settlements and the growing impoverishment of the population living on the lake are further issues that need to be addressed. Due to the oversupply of nutrients, large areas of the lake are covered by water hyacinths – an invasive species threatening the existence of native aquatic plants.

Therefore, the objective of the project is to develop a system for sustainable and environmentally friendly fish farming combined with effective wastewater treatment. Based on a membrane bioreactor, this multipurpose filtration system can be used as a recirculation system for fish tanks and wastewater treatment. Here it is essential to develop an efficient and robust purification system while ensuring sustainable decentralized energy supply – this is the only way to use the system in accordance with the local socio-economic conditions.

When using current membrane bioreactors, fouling might occur on the membranes. This effect is regarded as the main limitation of water flux which reduces the filtering performance of the membranes. As a result, cleaning chemicals must be used to clean the membranes at short intervals. That is why the project partners aim at developing a novel nanostructured membrane material for membrane reactors. This material cleans itself through the application of nanocatalysts. This aspect is of major importance to African developing countries, because here the use of chemicals may be an issue in terms of logistics and safety, for example.

The new “VicInAqua” project will focus on the aspect of using the treated water for the recirculation in fish tanks and for agricultural irrigation. After successful completion of the R&D phases, the concept will be tested in a pilot plant on the shores of Lake Victoria.

In addition to the innovative filtration system, VicInAcqua will also drive forward the development of a novel, sensor-controlled energy supply system for energy-autonomous operation. In order to increase the energy output, it is planned to create a hybrid system on the basis of photovoltaics, biogas-based process heat and thermoelectric generators. A thermoelectric generator allows electric energy to be generated from ambient heat. Due to the high temperatures in tropical countries, it is thus possible to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic elements. Even at a higher temperature level, a thermoelectric generator makes sure that the heat produced through combustion of biogas can be used to generate electric energy. This gas may be produced through fermentation of waste biomass, such as the water hyacinth invading Lake Victoria.

One of the key challenges will be to develop robust procedures, which can be optimally adapted to the socio-economic conditions in developing countries. As part of this project, it is therefore planned to train local experts and provide student exchange programs between European and African partner countries.

Intelligent Measuring Systems and Sensor Technologies

For current projects, please see the German-language CAR webpages.


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