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03.04.2019 11:04

Artificial Intelligence: OSB AG Sets Standards

Christian Seibert is an OSB expert on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI). In this interview he reveals the opportunities and risks associated with AI, and explains why OSB AG is an ideal partner for customers in this field. Furthermore, he names three exciting projects that are groundbreaking in the industry.

Christian Seibert has been working at OSB AG since August 2017. In the area of Products and Innovations / Electronics Development at OSB AG, he and his colleagues work together to develop products with a focus on artificial intelligence – both for customers as well as for inhouse developments. Prior to this, Christian Seibert worked for various renowned companies in the aerospace industry, for a major manufacturer of camera systems as well as for a well-known manufacturer of household appliances. He thus brings a wealth of AI experience to OSB AG.



Mr. Seibert, in which areas of life can we currently find artificial intelligence?


Christian Seibert: Basically everywhere – from tiny micro-controllers to large networked systems as well as all cloud-based and expert systems. All areas of everyday life are defined in some way today by more or less complex AI systems. The topic is very widespread. Although I always say that it is actually still not widespread enough. After all, artificial intelligence makes devices faster, more efficient, quieter and more economical. 


Can you say how you think artificial intelligence will continue to develop and what it will look like in the future?


Christian Seibert: I believe that AI will penetrate all areas of our life – wherever it is not found already. This will begin with small systems that give us a helping hand and make our lives easier, such as smart home applications – doors that open for us, lights that turn on automatically, household appliances such as refrigerators or washing machines that recognize our behavior patterns and align themselves accordingly. In other words, we will have systems that save us work practically everywhere in our daily lives. 


And what about larger systems? What will they look like in your opinion?


Christian Seibert: That is the other area of AI, namely expert systems. Here, too, many technologies will see a strong development. Physicians, for instance, will be increasingly supported in their diagnoses by expert systems. Modern aircraft no longer fly without expert or AI systems. You could almost say that the pilot is just an extra in the cockpit who monitors the technology. In the automotive industry, there are numerous assistance systems that are already doing the work for us, such as ESB, ABS and technical systems that assist us with braking, accelerating, starting off and driving round corners. In a few years, cars will drive alone or at least take over driving for us in certain traffic situations. AI principles and solutions are found almost everywhere  – and they will be used more and more extensively. People do what technology makes possible. I don’t see this stopping. Rather, the developments will continue unabated. 


What makes OSB AG an ideal partner for customers when it comes to artificial intelligence?


Christian Seibert: AI lives very much from synergy. I transfer content, ideas and philosophies from one technology environment to another – for example, when I introduce a technology from the aerospace industry into the consumer industry, or when I transfer a technology from the automotive industry to a toy.  An engineering service provider, such as OSB AG, is an ideal place to identify and draw on synergies between various technologies. OSB AG has an extremely vast customer portfolio in the automotive, avionics and consumer industries – and in a wide variety of segments. In this environment, we have an insight into all areas and can optimally exploit synergies between these technologies. This makes OSB AG a very interesting employer for me.


Can you tell us about some current AI projects at OSB AG?


Christian Seibert: OSB AG has a number of projects dealing with AI topics. I would like to mention three projects as examples. Each one is very different from the other and yet all three involve AI. The first project is a small robot that doesn’t cost much, has minimum sensor and actuating technology and that is equipped with a small, inexpensive processor. With this technology, we want to reproduce swarm intelligence in nature, such as found in anthills or beehives. Four to six of these small robots can be used to solve highly complex tasks – not because the individual robot has this ability, but because the entire system does. This is a highly interesting project and absolutely groundbreaking in terms of what you can do with swarms. The colleagues who are working on this are extremely motivated, highly intelligent and bring a lot of great ideas to the table.


The second AI project is the PSI5 Box. What’s that all about?


Christian Seibert: The PSI5 Analyzer Box is a very powerful, decentralized system that can evaluate a large number of specific automotive sensors in a very short time. We have reduced the system to a fraction of the cost of the conventional system and, at the same time, rendered it much more powerful and efficient. This new system can now analyze, evaluate and process data from sensor clusters with up to 240 sensors at great speed. These topics help to illustrate why OSB AG is so interesting. We not only have a research approach but also a clear goal of applying this research in an industrial context.  


The third project comes from the area of energy supply.


Christian Seibert: Yes, it does. The project involves smart electricity meters. Consumers are not very interested in regular electricity meters, as they only show the total consumption. Our mission is to make energy management more interesting for customers. We are evaluating the meter data with respect to the user’s behavior. This is a project which we are carrying out with the university OTH Regensburg as well as with various energy suppliers and a major manufacturer of smart electricity meters. The project is of great interest to users because, at the end of the day, they receive suggestions on how to save a lot of energy without any loss of comfort – simply by making small behavioral changes. 


Despite all the joy of progress, is there a risk that artificial intelligence, with its sometimes huge appetite for data, may also become a danger?


Christian Seibert: AI systems pose no greater danger than the hacking of electronic systems in general. We live in a highly networked and highly automated world, and wherever systems can be hacked and manipulated, there is danger. Here, it is important for us to consider aspects such as data security as well as access control for such systems. I firmly believe that protective mechanisms and technologies are necessary to ensure that data is not freely available and cannot be used in every environment. In addition, medical data, for instance, should be given a “lifespan”. In other words, it should be deleted when the person to whom it belongs no longer exists. We have a lot of work ahead of us in the coming years. The technologies we are dealing with require a high level of ethical and moral awareness on the part of the people handling them. OSB AG as a company and specifically the engineers working here are always aware of this responsibility. 


For you, however, the advantages of artificial intelligence outweigh the drawbacks. Is that right?


Christian Seibert: Absolutely. After all, AI simply makes life more interesting and easier – no matter whether it’s a toy that helps children to learn and brings them joy, or AI systems such as robots that can assist in slowing down diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s in older people, enabling them to remain members of this society for longer.  AI offers an infinite wealth of benefits. Discovering and developing these together with our highly motivated OSB colleagues is a wonderful task.

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