Mobile industrial robots in competition at ACHEMA 2024

Five world-class teams want to demonstrate the excellence of their solutions in the AIRA competition organized by INVITE together with BASF, Bayer, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Wacker. The aim is to demonstrate that these solutions can be used extremely flexibly and spontaneously for almost any task in real-life industrial environments.

Imagine two scenarios: A mobile robot carries out its routine activities - - like the ones we saw in the final of the AIRA Challenge at ACHEMA 2022: It inspects equipment inside and outside hazardous areas, uses stairs and takes samples. However, in the reality of everyday operations, the robot will also encounter unexpected situations - such as a forgotten bottle that is in the way of sampling. Or a locked door.
Second scenario: It's at night, at the weekend - only a few colleagues are working the night shift. Deep inside the labyrinth of pipes and corridors, there is an unexpected sensor message that requires their presence on site.

As part of the AIRA Challenge 2024, the teams will show how such situations can be solved in the future - without having to be planned and programmed in advance: An employee from the control room takes command of the robot. Equipped with advanced sensors and a versatile robotic arm, the robot is helped to find a solution in the first scenario, while in the second scenario the robot is used to assess the situation under the direction and responsibility of the employee and resolve it if possible.

In 2022, the AIRA competition (AIRA challenge 2022) focused on the autonomous execution of tasks in chemical plants. In contrast, the AIRA 2024 competition at ACHEMA 2024 aims to demonstrate the range of remote-controlled tasks and how realistic tasks can be performed reliably and intuitively via teleoperation.

The description of all tasks can be found at
This challenge is part of an ambitious initiative driven by a consortium of BASF SE, Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim Corporate Center GmbH and Wacker Chemie AG organized by INVITE GmbH and under the auspices of NAMUR. The expectation behind this challenge is simple: teleoperation will multiply the added value of mobile robotics.

Visit us at the competition at ACHEMA 2024!

„Unsere Erwartung an die Challenge ist es, die Potentiale der mobilen Robotik als eine künftige Schlüsseltechnologie der chemischen Industrie für alle sichtbar zu machen. Im Schulterschluss mit den Herstellern braucht es konkrete Maßnahmen entlang des gemeinsamen Wegs, aus den Potentialen Wirklichkeit werden zu lassen“

Christine Hau, Vice President Machinery & Reliability Solutions, BASF SE Ludwigshafen

„Wir sehen in der mobilen Robotik eine große Chance. Es wird eine der Antworten auf die großen Herausforderungen des demographischen Wandels sein.“

Dr. Stefan Schneiderbauer, Leiter Fertigungsautomatisierung Wacker Chemie

„Die autonome Mobilität entwickelt sich in atemberaubender Geschwindigkeit. Das schafft auch viele Chancen in der chemischen Industrie. Um diese zu realisieren, müssen wir uns auf die gemeinschaftliche Entwicklung von praxistauglichen Lösungen für unsere Produktionsprozesse und -abläufe fokussieren“

Dr. Sebastian Schmidt, Head of Site Technical Management, Bayer AG Dormagen