More space for Artificial Intelligence: DFKI Bremen starts construction on extension with new test sites and workshops

Six years and six days after the opening of the first building, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Bremen has started the second construction phase on Monday. The extension in the Robert-Hooke-Strasse 1 in the Bremen Technology Park adds new test sites, workshops and integration rooms to the research institute and thus creates a unique offer for science and industry. The second construction phase also includes new offices and conference rooms. Around two thirds of the construction costs are financed with own resources, while another third comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Visualization of the planned annex at Robert-Hooke-Strasse 1 in Bremen. Source: Hidde Timmermann ArchitektenGmbH, Braunschweig

New room for robots, test sites, workshops and offices: On May 4 2020, the DFKI has started the second construction phase in the Robert-Hooke-Strasse 1 in Bremen. The first own building with its Maritime Exploration Hall, an underwater test site that is unique in Europe, was opened in 2013. With the extension, the DFKI reacts to the growth at the location in Bremen and creates new space for research topics such as human-machine cooperation, space robotics and embedded systems.

The second of three construction phases includes an extensive annex with additional space for the two Bremen-based research departments, Robotics Innovation Center and Cyber-Physical Systems, on roughly 4,500 square meters. Around 13 Million Euro are invested in the new construction, of which 4.3 Million Euro derive from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The other two thirds of the construction costs are finance by own resources of the DFKI. The project is carried out by the construction company AUG. PRIEN Bauunternehmung GmbH &Co. KG. The construction measures directly link to the existing building and are meant to be completed in August 2021.

The heart of the annex is a 17-meter-high multi-purpose hall that will accommodate the moon crater replica from the neighboring building in the Robert-Hooke-Strasse 5 and includes a viewing window for the foyer. A ceiling crane with a load capacity of 12.5 tons and expansive project areas allow for the deployment of larger systems and the execution of a vast range of research projects. Together with the existing Maritime Exploration Hall and its 3.4-million-litre salt-water basin, the DFKI creates a unique research landscape for space, terrestrial and maritime robotics.

The central segment is flanked by workshops and integration rooms in the east and offices and project rooms in the west. These areas will include an electronics lab, a battery storage and two-story experimental environments that offer space for mobility tests with robots and self-developed electrical cars. Furthermore, the annex will be equipped with rooms for painting and grinding works, plastics processing, rapid prototyping and laser works. For the rehabilitation robotics, a six-meter-high living lab with a gravity compensation system is built to allow for experiments with walking robots and exoskeletons.

The work environment for the employees that currently work in four different buildings is not only improved by the spatial integration: New seminar and conference rooms offer plenty of space for work groups and academic lectures, while the in-house nursery profits from its own terrace and a new playground. The exterior of the building will be equipped with more parking spots, charging stations, automatic gates and a roughly 260-meter-long test track for robots and vehicles.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Frank Kirchenr, director of the DFKI location in Bremen, says about yesterday’s start of the construction: “We are happy that the extension of our building creates new opportunities and experimental environments for the research in artificial intelligence. Especially at our location in Bremen with its deep connections between research, the state and the industry and its great competence in AI, we can expand our more than ten years of experience and meet the requirements of a modern human-centric artificial intelligence.

Dr. Walter Olthoff, CFO of the DFKI, adds: “The second construction phase of the new building in Bremen is a big step for a research center without basic governmental financing. We are excited to take this forward-looking step with our own strength as well as the support by the European Regional Development Fund and start the second construction phase.”

About the DFKI:

The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) was founded in 1988 as a non-profit public-private partnership. It has research facilities in Kaiserslautern, Saarbrücken and Bremen, a project office in Berlin, a Laboratory in Niedersachsen and branch offices in St. Wendel and Trier. In the field of innovative commercial software technology using Artificial Intelligence, DFKI is the leading research center in Germany.

The DFKI location in Bremen:

Due to its continuous growth and scientific success, the former DFKI Laboratory Bremen, founded in 2006, became the third official location of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in 2009. It is comprised of the research departments Robotics Innovation Center, led by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Frank Kirchner, and Cyber-Physical Systems, led by Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler. Both research departments cooperate closely with the respective work groups of the professors at the University of Bremen.

The 2nd construction phase of the DFKI GmbH in Bremen
is supported by funds of the European Union.

Photos:
At https://cloud.dfki.de/owncloud/index.php/s/aab8RZpFNgczi2x you can find photos for the press release. You may use these as part of your publication mentioning the sources stated in the document.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Frank Kirchner
Location Director DFKI Bremen
Director DFKI Robotics Innovation Center
Phone: +49 421 178 45 4100

Press contact:
DFKI Bremen
Team Corporate Communications
Phone: +49 421 178 45 4121

View of the current building of the DFKI at Robert-Hooke-Strasse 1 opened in 2013. Source: DFKI GmbH, Photo: Thomas Frank

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz