A significant part of the research into automatics and robotics is nowadays applied to industrial manufacturing. The emphasis is on the use of mathematical models in control inspection and optimisation, and on developing and implementing computer-aided and computer-integrated technologies. Motion in man-machine systems is studied in order to develop new robots, robotised technologies, and medical equipment such as functional and therapeutic electrical stimulators. In parallel with the research projects, microcomputer regulators, measurement and control systems including special-purpose hardware, software, electronic components and other equipment are being developed for and applied to industrial automation. A large number of these systems have been installed in a number of companies in Slovenia and abroad, with resulting increase in the quality of their products and decrease in energy consumption and the utilisation of raw materials. In collaboration with the company Inea, we market our knowledge and technologies to several prestigious multinational organisations, such as Mitsubishi, IBM and Electrolux. In 1979, we produced our first industrial robot, and soon the first robotised production cells were installed. Nowadays, major attention is given to the automation of large-scale production lines and whole industrial plants. We developed and installed, for instance, an automated and robotized production line for packing and palletising different types of tea in the well-known Slovenian food industry Droga Portorož. This line accounts for more than seventy percent of the whole Slovenian tea production. Similarly, in Cinkarna Celje an automatic control system, developed in co-operation with our institute, is in operation for the production of titanium dioxide.
An important group of projects is dedicated to digital communication, distributed computer systems, and computer networks. The goal is to develop new protocols for data transfer and data processing, as well as to develop new tools for designing and testing telecommunication systems and for their dynamic optimisation. The Institute was involved in the development of Iskra's generation SI2000 digital telephone exchange. Some research activities in this area are carried out in collaboration with European teleoperators. Problems related to the secure exchange of electronic data within computer networks are being investigated, and different services, such as multimedia, videoconferences, telemedicine etc. are being developed. An important result was the establishment in 1989 of the first Yugoslav academic network Yunac and its connection to the internatic al Internet service in 1991.
In the field of computer science and informatics, the group for intelligent agents is established internationally. Several monographs have been published and one book has been translated into seven major languages and is used as a textbook for over a hundred universities around the world. Intelligent systems are based on artificial intelligence methods applied in multidisciplinary fields such as medicine, natural language processing or evolutionary algorithms and agents. Intelligent computer programs help us to synthesise knowledge from data or in decision making processes, in ecology, chemistry, economy, industrial, and Internet environments.
Advanced parallel computer architectures are also studied. The goal is to optimise the distribution of subtasks between single processors with respect to a specific global task. An original method was developed, which shares the tasks equally to the processors. The method has been implemented for real-time processing of video images in a computer system produced by Ecta Arcueil in France.
All these activities are carried out against the background of national and wide international collaboration with research, educational and industrial institutions. Our researchers and teachers are traditionally involved in the curricula of Slovenian universities.