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09/07/2020 | Press Release

Legal issues of digital twins

When digital twins accelerate industrial production, this also raises legal questions - such as the authenticity of digital calibration certificates. Legal scholars at the University of Kassel are working in a broad-based consortium to develop principles that will make the use of digital twins reliable.

Image: Rode/Light Catch.
Prof. Dr. Alexander Roßnagel.

The digital twin is a virtual image of real objects that behaves in the computer in exactly the same way as the original in reality. If industrial products can be planned, built, tested, measured and approved in the form of digital twins, this facilitates and accelerates the planning, production and implementation process, saves resources and ensures the quality of the products in their use. How safe and robust measurement systems for calibration, approval and quality assurance of complex industrial products can be created with the help of digital twins is being investigated by a consortium of 12 partners with the participation of the University of Kassel. Since August 1, 2020, they have been conducting the research project "Safe and Robust Calibrated Measurement Systems for Digital Transformation (GEMIMEG)" over the next three years with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

The focus of the GEMIMEG project is on metrology (calibration, referencing, calibration), i.e. trust and quality information about measuring devices, sensor networks, digital twins and data analysis methods. The goal of the overall project is to create valuable and usable standards with the solutions to be developed and thereby support the digital transformation in industry. The research in GEMIMEG is creating, among other things, increasingly complex system networks of sensors and actuators of the highest quality, e.g. installed in the pharmaceutical industry and other process industries, in vehicles, devices, in machines or at workplaces. In such application fields, measurement data must simultaneously serve different purposes: classically for local control and central control technology, but in parallel also for monitoring, to determine quality parameters for other sensor values, in sensor networks, between production modules, and in many other contexts.

The overall goal of GEMIMEG is to develop a secure, consistent, legally compliant end-to-end availability of information for the implementation of reliable, networked measurement systems. Two key aspects here are the digital availability of reliable and trustworthy information about measurement devices and measurement data, and the secure and robust orchestration of measurement systems. This is accompanied by the development of digital metrology in the sense of an end-to-end digitized, traceable, legally compliant measurement and calibration chain for complex sensor networks.

"The industrial product is approved or delivered after tests on the digital twin under the condition that certain measurement data of the digital twin are complied with by the original. These relevant measurement data are recorded in the digital calibration certificate. As digital data, they can be transmitted to the original product and used for self-calibration. But how can it be ensured that this corresponds to the approved digital twin? How can it be ensured that the digital calibration certificate is not altered without detection? How can the quality of and confidence in the measurement data be guaranteed?" asks Prof. Dr. Alexander Roßnagel of the University of Kassel. He heads the project group for constitutionally compatible technology design (provet) at the Scientific Center for Information Technology Design (ITeG), which is investigating these questions in the jurisprudential subproject of the University of Kassel.

In GEMIMEG-II, provet performs integrative research and consulting on legal issues of electronic commerce, electronic administration, data protection, product liability, evidence, and trust services and IT security. "The quality of the data obtained and the resilience of the statements and conclusions derived from it are of central importance, especially for industry and electronic legal transactions," says Paul C. Johannes, deputy managing director of provet and research associate in the legal subproject. "In this context, the reliable and legally compliant determination and safeguarding of data quality is the prerequisite for successfully using data as an economic asset."

The legally compliant and legally compatible design of the technologies and techniques to be developed in GEMIMEG-II is ensured by the continuous and integrative legal scientific support provided by provet. In addition, the design proposals will already be incorporated into the technical developments, where they will be legally evaluated in legal simulation studies. This will create confidence in technologies that are otherwise still untested in electronic legal transactions and electronic administration. The goal is legal certainty and protection of fundamental rights for companies, public authorities, employees and customers. The design and at the same time evaluative approach makes the project particularly relevant to practice.

 

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Alexander Roßnagel
Scientific Center for Information Technology Design (ITeG) at the University of Kassel
E-mail: a.rossnagel[at]uni-kassel[dot]de


Project partners: Samson KT Elektronik GmbH, digiraster GmbH & Co. KG, Valeo GmbH, Bosch.io, Carl Zeiss 3D Automation GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, Siemens AG, T-Systems International GmbH, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, University of Siegen and Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)