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Sectors such as aerospace, automotive, wind power, capital goods are characterised, on the one hand, by complex
products and small scale production that require high flexibility and on the other hand by an increasing pressure to raise productivity rates. Furthermore manufacturing systems need to deal with an ever-changing environment due to short term changes caused by human or production related variability or long term changes caused by market`s demands and company’s strategy, technology advancements and demographic trends. In this context assembly systems need to put together humans and automation taking advantage of each other’s strengths.

A4BLUE proposes (1) the development and evaluation of a new generation of sustainable, adaptive workplaces dealing with the evolving requirements of manufacturing processes, and (2) the introduction of automation mechanisms that are suitable for flexible and efficient task execution in interaction with human workers by optimising human variability through personalised and context aware assistance capabilities as well as advanced human-machine interfaces.

To support this objective the key features to be covered by A4BLUE are: (1) adaptability by providing an open, secure, configurable, scalable and interoperable adaptation management and assistance system (A4BLUE adaptive framework) that allows effortless integration of heterogeneous hardware and software components and is able to adjust the behaviour of workplace parts according to changes; (2) interaction by providing a set of safe, easy to use, intuitive and personalised and context aware multimodal human-automation interaction mechanisms and (3) sustainability by providing methods and tools to determine the optimal degree of automation of the new assembly processes that combine and balance social and economic criteria to maximize long term worker satisfaction and overall performance.

The objectives A4BLUE are addressed through 8 Work Packages (WP), each of them divided into specific tasks, to be developed during 36 months.
WP1 corresponds to the collection of relevant requirements (human, technical, ethical, regulatory, industrial, etc.) and the definition of the use case scenario. WP2 aims to define the reference architecture, functional components, secure middleware, virtual asset model and testing plans supporting WP3, WP4 and WP6. WP3 will be devoted to develop the methods and tools to support the determination of the optimal level of customisation from a socio economic perspective and assessment of both worker satisfaction and usability. WP4 will be in charge of the development and testing of the adaptive automation mechanisms and human machine interactions. WP5 will support the development and testing of the Adaptive framework. Experimentation activities including preparation of the experimentation sites, deployment, configuration and integration of the use case solutions and evaluation of the results will be performed in WP6. WP7 is in charge of dissemination and exploitation activities and WP8 corresponds to Management activities A4BLUE will follow an iterative approach involving two cycles
(alpha and beta iterations).