Cognitive products in production systems of the future are products that can reason using substantial amounts of appropriately represented knowledge, learn from their experience so that they perform better tomorrow than they did today, explain themselves and be told what to do, be aware of their own capabilities and reflect on their own behavior, and respond robustly to surprise. Ultimately, cognitive products will result in products with higher reliability, flexibility, adaptivity, interaction, and improved performance. So far, the benefit of cognitive technologies have been exploited in consumer products, as well as in products for clothing trade applications. The motivation of Area 4.1 is to integrate cognitive products/technologies more and more in production.
The key goal of Area 4.1 is to design and realize cognitive products for realistic applications. The “cognition” of the products is formed by automatically optimizing the product function across the whole product lifecycle in order to maximize customer satisfaction, product quality and sustainability, and to minimize production overheads. In order to bring “cognition” into products; sensing, networking, and software platforms are required that are both dependable (as many products and their production are safety-critical) and cost-efficient (the added value of cognition must be balanced with the added hardware and development costs in order to enable business models). The design of these platforms will be driven and evaluated by case studies of cognitive products together with the industry partners. Building on results from Areas 1-3, Area 4.1 will realize cognitive products for realistic applications by means of (i) case studies involving cognitive products, (ii) optimization of products during the entire product life cycle, (iii) development of integrated sensing, networking, and software platforms for cognitive products. Whith this, Area 4.1 is one of the two application-oriented areas and thus forms a central integration point in the Centre.