ACROBA Cognitive robot platforms for agile manufacturing

Bern University of Applied Sciences is leading the EU Horizon 2020 research project ACROBA. This aims to develop and demonstrate a new modular concept for cognitive robot platforms which can be easily adapted to practically any industrial scenario in the field of agile manufacturing.


  • Lead school(s) School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Institute Institute for Intelligent Industrial Systems (I3S)
  • Funding organisation EU
  • Duration (planned) 01.01.2021 - 30.06.2024
  • Project management Norman Baier
  • Head of project Norman Baier
  • Project staff Simon Kaderli
    Oliver Fässler
    Horst Heck
  • Partner BIBA – Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik GmbH (DE)
    Mr. NeC B.V. (NL)
    Fundación AITIIP (ES)
    Universidad De La Iglesia De Deusto Entidad Religiosa (ES)
    Pôle EMC2 (FR)
    CABKA Group GmbH (DE)
    IKOR Sistemas Electrónicos S.L. (ES)
    SIGMA Clermont (FR)
    Irish Manufacturing Research Company Limited By Guarantee (IE)
    Nuevas Técnicas De Automatización Industrial S.L. (ES)
    SteriPack Ireland Ltd (IE)
    STAM Srl (IT)
    Icpe SA (RO)
    Fundación Centro De Tecnologías De Interacción Visual Y Comunicaciones Vicomtech (ES)
    Moses Productos S.L. (ES)
    Prizztech Ltd (FI)
  • Keywords Robotics, agile production, digital twin, collaborative robotics

Starting Point

To keep pace with rapidly changing market trends, to meet customer requirements and to remain competitive, the manufacturing industry must reduce its time-to-market. Changing customer requirements and increasing product complexity are the main drivers behind agile manufacturing. Companies continually have to reprogram their production tools and robots, which is extremely time-consuming and cost-intensive for SMEs in particular.


The ACROBA project aims to provide a solution by developing generic robot platforms tailored to the specific requirements of companies. This key step is required to increase the degree of automation in the agile manufacturing of customer-specific products, to reduce costs, to enhance performance and to improve competitiveness.


The ACROBA project, which is co-funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, began on 1 January 2021 and will last for 42 months. ACROBA brings together a consortium of 17 partners from nine EU countries and is coordinated by Bern University of Applied Sciences.

Based on existing reference architectures (e.g. COPRA AP) for robot operating systems (ROS), the ACROBA project aims to develop and demonstrate a new modular concept of cognitive robot platforms which can be easily adapted to practically any industrial scenario in the field of agile manufacturing.

ACROBA’s new industrial platform aims to take advantage of the benefits of artificial intelligence and cognitive modules to meet the requirements of customisation and to improve the mass production of customer-specific products through advanced robot systems which can themselves be adapted to various production requirements.

The operation of the production lines controlled with the platform is a key element. Bern University of Applied Sciences is making its contribution here by providing an innovative task planning system which ensures smooth production processes and, where necessary, collaboration with human employees based on CAD data and other production instructions for operators.

  • This solution is based on the COPRA-AP reference architecture. This will be used to develop a new, generic and module-based platform which is easy to configure and can be adapted to practically any production line.
  • To improve modularity, the platform will be equipped with a decentralised structure based on ROS nodes. The ACROBA platform will provide a cost-efficient solution for broad application in industry, both within the consortium and in other sectors of industry which will be approached in future. The project approach is being demonstrated using five real pilot applications from large-scale industry.

The ACROBA platform will be tested by 12 dedicated hackathons and at two ACROBA on-site labs (AOSLs) for SMEs in the manufacturing industry.