AI in manufacturing: Test and experiment facilities for European SMEs


Networking, testing and optimizing AI in manufacturing

AI-MATTERS places Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the heart of European manufacturing innovation and strives to integrate, optimize, and make transformative AI technologies accessible, especially to Europe's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), through extensive testing and experimentation.


The EU is investing 139 million Euros actions within the Digital Europe program dedicated to Artificial Intelligence including the sectorial Testing and Experimentation Facilities. Member states of the EU are also investing, preparing and mobilizing their national research and technology base and assets to remain competitive at the forefront of the global transformations that human-centric and trustworthy AI will enable in various sectors of society.


The main underlying objective of AI-MATTERS with a funded volume of 60 Mio. € is to implement concrete steps towards strengthening Europe’s positioning and leadership in the uptake of human-centric Artificial Intelligence systems that can enable robotics and other advanced technologies to create leap transformations of the EU manufacturing sector. However, it is critical to achieve this overarching goal without compromising environmental protection, human safety and quality of life.

The project, launched in January 2023 and with the expected ending in December 2027, aims to deploy a European network of connected large reference testing and experimentation facilities dedicated to AI technologies and concepts with the potential for enhancing Europe’s manufacturing competitiveness.

Beyond the potential of the technologies and applications, this implies carefully addressing issues such as scale, scope of the project, critical mass, specialist equipment and services, secure virtual access. For certain services a definition of use cases within the TEF will be extracted from the service portfolio.

Following Services will be presented in ARENA2036:

  • Wireless real-time data transmission
  • AI-Evaluation in robot automated process
  • Consulting for Robot IT architecture
  • Consulting for Asset Administration Shell
  • Provision of shop floor data for logistics applications

AI-MATTERS is coordinated by CEA-LIST in Paris-Saclay, and brings together a consortium of 25 major research, technology and innovation organisations, assembled around seven nodes and one satellite in eight European countries. The actors in AI-MATTERS are already regional and national leaders in the deployment of artificial intelligence in the manufacturing industry. Together, they bring deep expertise to meet the call objectives.


The overall concept of the AI-Matters work is mapped onto 5 WPs, focussing on: management (WP1), setting up (WP2), operation (WP3), impact (WP4) and dissemination (WP5). Although the ordering of WP2-5 is notionally sequential, in fact all WPs will run throughout the project.


Handles the cross-sectional topic of managing the consortiums work. It monitors project progress, oversees the technical work and manages the financial contribution from EC and national sources.


Covering the physical and organisational setup of the seven nodes and the satellite. The primary work here is preparing the physical facilities, constructing the various testbeches building on the partner’s existing infrastructure. A key outcome is the definition of the service catalogue and common operation procedures across all AI-MATTERS nodes, so that equally high service standards are available to all customers.


Manages the day-to-day operation of the network after it has become public. While WP3 conceptually follows WP2, both overlap significantly to allow iterative refinement of the physical and logical services provided (WP2) and continued improvement of the service-offering process (WP3).


Bundles all activities to ensure impact. This includes raising awareness within the relevant industries about the benefits of AI in general and particularly the AI-MATTERS services. It connects the network to relevant stakeholders and policy makers to promote an AI-friendly political, economic and social environment. WP4 covers the whole project runtime.


Bundles the wider dissemination activities towards the general public and specific interest groups. It will closely cooperate with all other WPs, keeping the interested European public informed on the progress in AI-MATTERS. While WP5 is mostly unidirectional broadcasting, WP4 is bidirectional in nature, guiding the AI-MATTERS network’s actions based on the current state of Europe’s AI landscape and supporting Europe’s decision makers (from local to regional to European levels) with hard evidence to support policy actions for increased uptake of AI in manufacturing.

Project partners