FAQ

FAQ – all answers in one place

Any questions left? Find answers to various questions regarding the project Legal Testbed as well as Industry 4.0, blockchain and automation in our FAQ section:

What is Legal Testbed?

The project “Industry 4.0 Legal Testbed”, or Legal Testbed for short, is an interdisciplinary research and development project in which the legally secure automation and digitalization of business processes is being researched. The aim is to support companies in the digitalization of processes and, in addition, to create a legally secure and IT-secure framework for politics and companies. Thus, Legal Testbed contributes a small part to approach the automation of the industry in Germany, especially in relation to logistics.

How does Legal Testbed work?

In the sense of a digital experimental field, the research questions and results of the project will be tested on typical use cases from logistics and production. The focus is primarily on the use cases of transportation and production, in which, for example, automated negotiations between software agents or the automated conclusion of contracts are simulated and legally evaluated.

For whom is Legal Testbed?

Legal Testbed is aimed at companies that want to automate their processes or have already automated them in various areas. A publicly accessible experimental field is being developed in which companies can test their technical components for contract processes under different aspects before they are put into real use. For companies and for Germany as a location for digitalization, Legal Testbed is intended to increase opportunities and minimize risks:

  • Digitalization potential is utilized by integrating Industry 4.0 components into existing processes
  • Legal risks are reduced by researching Industry 4.0-related legal issues

What technologies are there in Legal Testbed?

In Legal Testbed, different technologies are explored from various points of view. For the automation of the contractual level, smart contracts will be investigated and examined from the perspective of legal security. In order to automate payment transactions in value creation systems and place them on an IT-secure and traceable foundation, blockchain technology is being researched. To automate the negotiation process and the associated business processes, so-called software agents are being tested that act as representatives of the negotiating entity.

What are the use cases in Legal Testbed?

In order to create practical relevance and to conduct application-oriented research, two use cases are being developed that correspond to typical logistical scenarios. The transportation use case deals with the carriage of goods within the EU and examines the digital and automated negotiation and execution of a freight contract. The production use case simulates the negotiation between customer and supplier, with both parties represented by software agents. On the supplier side, however, not only the product or order quantity is to be negotiated, but production is to be triggered automatically afterwards. You can find more information regarding the use cases here.

Why is trust relevant in Legal Testbed?

Mutually perceived trust is essential for entering into negotiations with potential contractual partners or for concluding a contract. When automating business processes, it is therefore equally relevant to create opportunities to establish this trust in digital form. For this reason, the use of software agents as trust agents and the automated evaluation of trustworthiness with the help of so-called trustworthiness profiles are also being researched Legal Testbed.

When will Legal Testbed be available?

The first version of the publicly accessible testbed is already publicly accessible, you can find it here! In addition, sample contracts, blueprints, and recommended actions are made available in an open repository via the project website. To get another impression regarding the dimensions of Legal Testbed, feel free to test our virtual demonstrator: the trust demonstrator shows how trust can be established and evaluated automatically with the help of trust agents and trustworthiness profiles.

How can companies participate in Legal Testbed?

Do you also want your company to benefit from the various possibilities and opportunities that arise from participation in the project? Then contact us! We are looking forward to cooperating with you!

Project Management Office »Industrie 4.0 Recht-Testbed«

rtb-pmo@fraunhofer.de

+49 (0) 231 / 9743- 214

Questions and answers on automation, Industry 4.0 and blockchain

What automation means

In Germany, automation is on the rise – but what does that mean exactly? In general, the term automation is used when certain tasks in processes, such as production or transport, are carried out by intelligent systems. In this context, the processes can be monitored, controlled, and regulated by these systems.

How can contract processes be automated?

There are different approaches to automating processes related to contracts. From the negotiation of a contract, through the conclusion of the contract, to its execution, individual contract processes can be automated. Examples of this automation include autonomous negotiation between software agents or the automatic initiation of further actions after the conclusion of a contract.

Why automation is important

There are numerous reasons for automation: For example, employees can be relieved of physically demanding, time-consuming or recurring tasks. In addition, time, money and resources can be saved, while quality is increased. Of course, it depends on the specific processes whether and when automation makes sense.

What Industry 4.0 means

The term Industry 4.0 describes the plan to intelligently network people, machines, and production processes in industry with the help of modern information and communication technologies. The aim is to instrumentalize the possibilities of digitalization and intelligent systems in order to make industries more flexible, more efficient and more customer-centric, and thus to secure future competitive advantages.

Why Industry 4.0 is needed

The automation of various processes and the digitalization of industrial infrastructures are continuing to increase worldwide. In order to exploit the potential for digitalization and position Germany as a market leader in the field of intelligent manufacturing, the course must be set now. The digitalization and automation of individual processes in the company can secure competitiveness, while increasing efficiency, room for maneuver and flexibility.

What are Industry 4.0 use cases?

The fields of application for Industry 4.0 components are numerous: For example, for an optimized Logistics 4.0 algorithms can be used to calculate ideal delivery routes or intelligent planning systems may assist in operating the warehouse more efficiently. In production processes, production machines can automatically negotiate potential orders and trigger production immediately as well as autonomously after the contract is signed. The amount of data that is collected in certain processes can be used to make these processes even more optimized or can be instrumentalized for new business models and services.

What is a blockchain?

Blockchain and blockchain technology are established terms, but it is not always tangible what is actually meant by them. In general, a blockchain is a decentralized, public or private database to which several parties have access. With the help of a blockchain protocol, these geographically separated nodes can be interconnected. The blockchain plays a key role in the implementation of automated contract negotiations in particular, as it represents a secure data store for contracts and is also considered manipulation-proof, irreversible and traceable.

What types of blockchain are there?

A basic distinction can be made between a public (permissionless) and a private (permissioned) blockchain. Only a selected group of users has access to a private blockchain. If several participants, companies or organizations are involved in a blockchain, this is also referred to as a consortial blockchain.