Munich, 31 March 2019 – CIMON, the technology demonstrator developed and built by Airbus on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), has won the prestigious German Innovation Prize (Deutsche Innovationspreis) in the large companies category (Großunternehmen) 2019. The award was presented in Munich on Friday evening.
Every year, Accenture, EnBW and the business magazine WirtschaftsWoche, which joined forces to launch the German Innovation Award, recognise outstanding, forward-looking innovations from German companies, which are transforming business and markets with their innovative strength.
CIMON (Crew Interactive MObile companioN), is the first free-flying astronaut assistant to be tested on board the International Space Station (ISS), and is a technology experiment designed to demonstrate how humans and intelligent machines can work together.
CIMON can see, hear, understand, speak and fly. It is spherical with a diameter of 32 cm and weighs 5 kg. It is modelled after a character from the 1980s anime series ‘Captain Future’, Professor Simon Wright, which was known as ‘the flying brain’ and featured sensors, cameras and a speech processor.
On 15 November 2018, CIMON successfully completed its first 90-minute space mission with German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst.
CIMON can support astronauts, for example by displaying and explaining procedures or instructions for scientific experiments and repairs. In particular, CIMON could be used in the future to complete routine tasks, such as documenting experiments, searching for items and taking inventory. It can also be used as a mobile camera. CIMON technology could also be useful here on Earth – assisting in industrial processes, in operating theatres or in the social sector.
The interactive astronaut assistant was developed and built by Airbus in Friedrichshafen and Bremen on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Space Administration and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie; BMWi). Watson AI technology from the IBM Cloud provides voice-controlled artificial intelligence. The scientific aspects of the assistance system were co-developed and supervised by a team at Ludwig-Maximilian University Hospital in Munich (Klinikum der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, LMU).
Currently, the CIMON team is analysing the results of its first space mission, programming improvements and new tasks, and preparing the technology demonstrator for new work missions with new – human – colleagues.
Further information on CIMON can be found here.
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Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2018 it generated revenues of € 64 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.