University of Bremen: Science award for university startup

The startup Ubica Robotics GmbH, which was founded by the University of Bremen, has won the Science Prize 2022 of the EHI Foundation in the category “Best Startup”. This honors particularly innovative start-ups that are relevant to retail and the consumer goods industry.
The excellent research and development at the University of Bremen is also emphatically confirmed in this way: The startup Ubica Robotics GmbH, which emerged from the university, has now received the EHI Foundation’s science prize, which is endowed with 50,000 euros, in the category “Best Startup”. The award ceremony took place on June 1, 2022 as part of EuroCIS – the most important European trade fair for retail technologies – in Düsseldorf.

Founded in 2020, Ubica Robotics develops autonomous scanning robots that create digital images of retail stores. The new data recorded daily by the robots provide information about the structure of the branch, the location of the products and the actual inventory and stock turnover. They enable a significant increase in efficiency and productivity in retail business processes.

The digital twins identify gaps in shelves early on. The shelf layout can be adjusted based on sales and the supply chain can be individually optimized for each branch. This not only makes processes more cost-efficient, but also improves the shopping experience for customers.

Technology based on a successful EU project
Ubica Robotics was created as a university spin-off from the Institute for Artificial Intelligence under the direction of Professor Michael Beetz. The technology is based on the results of the “REFILLS” research project funded by the European Commission. “Ubica is a prime example of the path from top university research to economic success,” says Michael Beetz. He himself was awarded the science prize for the best chair project with the related topic “Semantic digital twins as a knowledge base for branches” in 2021.

„Das Unternehmen präsentiert die gesamte Wertschöpfungskette von erfolgreicher Grundlagenforschung bis zum effizienten Einsatz in realen Anwendungsbereichen der Industrie“, so Beetz. Zudem bilden die digitalen semantischen Zwillinge, die von Ubica-Robotern erstellt und mit modernen Wissensverarbeitungstechnologien der Universität Bremen kombiniert werden, die Basistechnologie für die digitale Innovationsplattform „Knowledge4Retail“ (K4R). K4R ist eines der zentralen Projekte der Bremer KI-Strategie und wird im Rahmen des KI-Innovationswettbewerbes des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz gefördert. Mehr als die Hälfte der Partner kommt dabei aus Bremen.

The EHI Foundation was founded by the EHI Retail Institute eV. It promotes the exchange between science and retail and motivates researchers to research retail issues. The foundation makes research results usable in practice and creates a lively dialogue. The EHI Retail Institute itself is a research and training institute for retail and its partners based in Cologne.