German research organization Fraunhofer has announced the launch of its EKODA project, which focuses on the mobility industry with the aim of addressing issues such as resource scarcity, rising prices of raw materials and energy, supply chain disruptions, and waste disposal. Its goal is to swap conventional recycling for what it calls a circular economy.
According to the organization, its researchers are developing alternatives to the current wasteful, energy-consuming scrapping processes for used and damaged cars, most of which have still-functional parts. Fraunhofer says its approach involves examining components in a complex testing procedure using automated cameras, followed by an evaluation system to generate recommendations for reuse. Old batteries, gear shafts and cogwheels, for example, might even find applications beyond the automotive industry.
“The decisive factor here is that the individual parts are disassembled carefully via a standardized and automated process,” explains Dr. Uwe Frieß, head of the body construction, assembly and disassembly department at Fraunhofer. The EKODA team is reported to be developing and optimizing the evaluation system as well as software equipped with AI algorithms that comprises a core technology of the project.