PhD Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Liebherr-Elektronik GmbH and the University of Tübingen are researching efficient machine learning methods for real-time critical automation tasks. For this purpose, Liebherr is sponsoring a doctorate and supporting the university's doctoral student on site in Lindau. The doctoral student can thus draw on comprehensive know-how from smart sensor development and the necessary hardware and software environment.
Actively contribute to the future!
The versatile field of activity around the seminal topic of electrical drives for mobile construction machinery shows one of the multiple opportunities at Liebherr. Our students engaged in these topics are therefore, among others, simulating different battery models or load profiles, supporting the choice of capable producers or drafting high-performance power supply for the machines to contribute to a bright future of electrical-driven Liebherr machines. Furthermore, students have the freedom to organize and time their work on their own and are seen as important stakes within the department. Due to the complexity of several tasks, our students also deepen their knowledge in various disciplines of engineering.
From real engines to mathematical models!
In the 1960s, the world-famous band “The Beach Boys” released a song named “Good Vibrations”, a statement our developers would clearly disagree with. Vibrations caused by running engines can have huge effects on the driving comfort of the operator, the durability of certain machine parts, noise requirements on jobsites and even the health of operators.
In order to minimize vibrations one of our ambitious graduating students investigated the bearings of our diesel engines in the course of his Thesis aiming to achieve the best possible vibration isolation. Therefore, he implemented a mathematical vibration model in MATLAB (programming and numeric computing software) enabling him to make statements about the engine suspension and to simulate effects in the event of any changes to the bearing and suspension.
From the above, it is obvious that our students are contributing to the success of our company and we give them the needed space to develop their full potential: we encourage our students to shape their own ideas and independently make decisions based on their findings. If the student does run into a dead end, our supervisors are immediately on the spot. We also attach importance to the integration of the students into existing teams as many of them have started their professional careers at Liebherr after graduation.
Qt looking applications!
Displays and cameras are providing operators with important information and are facilitating their daily routine. Nevertheless, they are not the fanciest components in our high-tech machines. For that reason, our developers were thinking about how to draw greater attention to these type of components. This was the dawn of developing a sliding puzzle application usable for any kind of job fairs. The job fair visitors can even take their own pictures and then puzzle them together.
The idea was that a graduating student is developing a nice gimmick in the course of his Bachelor Thesis. The realization of the puzzle was done on a Liebherr display supported by a Liebherr digital camera using Qt-technology. In the course of the project, the student had to cope with network protocols, image processing, operating systems and object oriented programming thus creating an advantageous reciprocity between theory and experience.
Besides our graduating students, there is another important source for our success: our dual study program in electrical engineering.
The intention of the program is that our dual students will find the perfect challenge at Liebherr therefore rotating on a 3-month-basis through all relevant departments. In their rotation departments, they can apply their acquired knowledge and getting a deep insight in tasks and processes of our development departments in order to find the perfect entrance to their professional life after graduation.
Next Step Automation!
In these times, the omnipresence of rapidly developing technological progress determines our everyday lives. Smart speakers play the music we want to hear or write down our shopping lists upon request, and artificial intelligence tries to imitate the human mind in Hollywood movies.
Liebherr is not immune to this progress. Our developers have been working on smart driver assistance systems such as automatic positioning assistants for deep foundation operations, or grab assistants for optimized material handling, for several years now. However, our aspirations go a step further. For some time, our developers have been working on semi-autonomous machines that carry out work steps independently. An important aspect of semi-autonomous work steps is the avoidance of collisions with other machines, obstacles, or even persons on the jobsite. This is where our graduating students come into play: supporting our development departments in their efforts to shape the future.
In the course of thesis work, our graduating student had the task of developing a simulated environment in which the collision avoidance software could be tested. This included a model of a mobile harbour crane with all its movements and characteristics, as well as virtual sensors such as cameras. In order to implement the various requirements into the simulation, the necessary software packages also had to be selected and a number of questions had to be answered:
- Which existing software is suitable?
- How can the crane model be implemented as realistically as possible in the software?
- How can the various virtual sensors be simulated?
- How can the movements of the mobile harbour crane be programmed?
- How can a virtual working environment be simulated and the software packages used on it be tested?
Our aim is to bring our students closer to the real professional world. This involves learning new programming languages and arranging work schedules and priorities autonomously. In weekly meetings with the supervisor, goals are defined and work packages divided into clear sub-tasks. Through full integration in the department’s processes from the outset, the students are familiar with the entire team and so gain valuable tips and information from other developers within the department.
This particular student was so enthusiastic and fascinated by the project on semi-autonomous machines that he accepted our offer of a permanent position after completion of his studies, and is still working very successfully on this project.