Research institute KAIST to showcase AI and metaverse-based factory capable of controlling actual plant

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : April 13, 2023, 14:15 Updated : April 13, 2023, 14:32

[Courtesy of KAIST]

SEOUL -- At a global trade fair in Germany, a South Korean technology institute will showcase an artificial intelligence-based virtual factory where operators can remotely control actual manufacturing sites in a metaverse environment. In case of emergency, the AI system will notify human operators in the virtual world so they can counteract. The virtual plant can also be used to monitor facilities and educate employees.
The metaverse, which uses virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), enables humans to engage in various types of activities in simulated virtual spaces. Using personalized characters called "avatars," business operators can experiment with different products and interact with their business partners. 
At the Hannover Messe, a five-day global trade fair to begin on April 5 in Hanover, Germany, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) will present a virtual plant where visitors can monitor and control a real factory located in Ulsan, a South Korean city about 9,000 kilometers (5,592 miles) away from the experience hall in Hanover. If a dangerous situation is detected at the actual site, operators will be notified through the AI system.    
The virtual factory will also allow visitors to arrange many different facilities so they later improve workflow efficiency. Workers can also receive hands-on training on collecting, storing, and analyzing manufacturing-related data.
"This will be developed into a platform capable of building an entire factory using manufacturing AI metaverse technology if a company requests a design plan that includes facilities and line plans in the future," KAIST's manufacturing AI big data center head Kim-Il joong said in a statement on April 13.
The research institute will build the factory experience hall through a consortium that involves two universities and related-private companies. More than 4,000 companies including Microsoft and Siemens will participate in the trade event. 
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