Establishment of the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS

Strengthening AI research for Bavaria

TUM-Präsident Hofmann, Leiterin Organisationsstrategie und Administration am Fraunhofer IKS Sickinger, Ministerpräsident Söder, Wirtschaftsminister Aiwanger und Institutsleiter Mario Trapp.
© Fraunhofer IKS/Amory Salzmann
Official hand-over of the grant certificate. From left to right: Thomas Hofmann, President of TUM, Sabine Sickinger, Head of Organizational Strategy and Administration at Fraunhofer IKS, Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Markus Söder, Prime Minister of Bavaria, State Minister Hubert Aiwanger, Mario Trapp, Executive Director of Fraunhofer IKS.

The Bavarian government is currently undertaking a massive expansion of academic and non-academic research activities in the field of artificial intelligence. The aim is to integrate this expertise into a Bavarian-wide AI network.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS is being established in Munich as a digital lighthouse project within the AI network. The plan is to grow the institute to roughly 200 employees by the year 2025, thus necessitating the construction of a new building on the Garching Research Campus. The corresponding research and development activities will receive extensive funding for a period of five years through the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy led by State Minister Hubert Aiwanger.

Harmonizing artificial intelligence and safety

The starting point for the thematic establishment of the institute is the research activities in the field of resilient intelligence for cognitive systems that have been carried out since 2017 by the former Fraunhofer ESK. Our future activities will focus primarily on software engineering for safety-critical applications in the fields of autonomous driving  and Industry 4.0.

Background:  artificial intelligence can realize its full potential only as part of a safe and dependable cognitive system. For this reason, Fraunhofer IKS observes and researches cognitive systems in their entirety as complex, software-intensive technical systems that must carry out their tasks safely and dependably. This calls for robust and adaptable software architectures, as well as software engineering methods for the validation of important quality characteristics such as dependability and safety. Cognitive systems, such as autonomous vehicles, will achieve market success only if they are verifiably safe.

Institutsfeier in München hoch 5
© Fraunhofer IKS/Amory Salzmann

Networking within and outside of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

The institute is planning to develop close ties to several professors at two Munich Universities of Excellence: Technical University Munich (TUM) and Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich (LMU). Collaboration with other members of the Bavarian AI network is also in the works. By networking with other research institutes, as well as through cooperation with Fraunhofer institutes that possess complementary expertise, Fraunhofer IKS will supplement and expand its own expertise on a project-specific basis when needed. In particular, plans are in place to work closely together with the High Performance Center »Secure Intelligent Systems« (LZSiS).

The project is being sponsored by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy (StMWi).