ROBDEKON competence center enters a new phase

Karlsruhe /

* Robots should remediate contaminated sites as autonomously as possible and support the dismantling of nuclear facilities as well as the recovery of hazardous materials: This is the objective of ROBDEKON, a competence center funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

* After four years of defining detailed use cases, researching technological principles, and developing demonstrators, the focus in phase II is now on transferring the results into practice and making the center permanent.

* Therefore, ROBDEKON is looking for partners for pilot projects – i. e. companies that want to offer and/or use autonomous decontamination technology.

The competence center »Robotic systems for decontamination in hazardous environments«, in short ROBDEKON, receives funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for another four years. One of the aims is to establish ROBDEKON permanently as a contact point and multiplier for all relevant technological issues and developments, and to enable it to be economically self-sustaining once the funding expires. On the other hand, the demonstration systems developed in phase I, ranging from autonomous excavators to exploration systems for contaminated sites (see press release of November 15, 2022), are to be further developed in pilot projects with real users and made fit for practical use.

© Fraunhofer IOSB
A team of autonomously acting robots - robo-excavator and robo-dog - in action: An impression of current tests at Fraunhofer IOSB.

"We are continuing the success story of ROBDEKON and are now taking the pioneering scientific and technological work done in recent years to a practical application in decontamination work," says ROBDEKON spokesperson Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Jürgen Beyerer, head of Fraunhofer IOSB and of the Vision and Fusion Laboratory (IES) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). As a result, he said, the original vision of actually relieving people exposed to high levels of stress and health risks during decontamination work is gradually coming to reality now. "We are looking forward to being contacted by companies that want to get down to business and put these innovations into use so that their beneficial effects may unfold."

The contact point for interested users and those willing to network is the ROBDEKON coordination office at Fraunhofer IOSB, Fraunhoferstr. 1, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany, available at +49 721 6091-670 or

The competence center "Robotic systems for decontamination in hazardous environments" (ROBDEKON) pools the scientific and technological competences of the Federal Republic in a technology hub. It has been and is currently being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the "Research for Civil Security" program – in phase I (summer 2018 to fall 2022) with around 12 million euros, and in phase II (December 2022 to December 2026), which is now starting, with around 8 million euros. The consortium includes the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB (coordination), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the FZI Research Center for Information Technology, the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (Die HKA) and the industrial partners Götting KG, Kraftanlagen Heidelberg GmbH and ICP Ingenieurgesellschaft Prof. Czurda und Partner mbH.

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