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Machine Economy for Dynamic Configurations of Production Processes

Thesis type
  • Master
Status Open
Supervisor(s)
Advisor(s)
  • Thomas Osterland

In the context of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, the autonomization of cyber physical systems is increasingly coming to the fore. Just imagine an autonomous vehicle that offers commuter services against payment. The electric vehicle has to pay tolls, requires energy from charging stations and employs washing services from time to time. Considering all entities in this process as agents that can interact and carry wallets, one can easily envision a machine-to-machine economy. Technical agents decide what tasks to conduct regarding costs, capabilities and earnings as illustrated by the demonstrators of Smart Replenishment Box and Smart Vehicle Control1.

 

In the context of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, the autonomization of cyber physical systems is increasingly coming to the fore. Just imagine an autonomous vehicle that offers commuter services against payment. The electric vehicle has to pay tolls, requires energy from charging stations and employs washing services from time to time. Considering all entities in this process as agents that can interact and carry wallets, one can easily envision a machine-to-machine economy. Technical agents decide what tasks to conduct regarding costs, capabilities and earnings as illustrated by the demonstrators of Smart Replenishment Box and Smart Vehicle Control1.

Similar ideas apply for individual machines in production chains as depicted by the chain in figure 1. Rather than being fully controlled by external control units in their daily operations, machines are becoming more flexible in their service portfolio and act more and more self-controlled. Going down this avenue, not only completely autonomous interacting vehicles might become a daily experience, but also production machinery will gain an increasing level of autonomy. In a so-called machine economy, machines might act as economic agents offering their services on a settlement basis while having their yields in mind.

1 https://www.fit.fraunhofer.de/en/fb/cscw/blockchain/smart-contracts.html