Artificial Intelligence for Earth Observation: Reasoning, Uncertainties, Ethics and Beyond (AI4EO)

The IEAI and Prof. Christoph Lütge is a research partner for the newly established Future Lab Artificial intelligence for Earth Observation (AI4EO). Led by the Technical University of Munich in cooperation with the German Aerospace Center, the Lab focuses on the development of AI technologies for earth observation (EO). It brings 20 renowned international organizations across 9 countries and 27 highly ranked scientists at all levels together to address three fundamental challenges in EO-specific cutting-edge artificial intelligence research – Reasoning, Uncertainties, and Ethics.

Example applications include using satellite data with intelligent big data analysis to model global urbanization, the feeding of the world’s population, or the management of natural hazards. In this way, the smart data from space can help decision-makers on the ground, for example, to design sustainable and livable cities or contain forest fires at an early stage.

Along with the use of big data and AI-based technology in EO, comes the need for greater attention to legal and ethical requirements for the use of these tools. Thus, building responsible AI4EO that embody social norms and values while ensuring sustainable and inclusive development is of central relevance. Accordingly, this project will address issues of data protection/privacy, data portability, and fairness/equality at the level not just of data collection, but also at the level of data use and dissemination within the sphere of ethics in AI4EO.

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As part of the AI4EO project, Auxane Boch, researcher at the IEAI, is working as a Beyond Fellow to investigate sub-topics of the project with the Ethics group of the Lab. The topics are:

AI4EO researchers’ Perception of AI ethics

Understanding the reason and need for ethics when working with AI technology is the first step towards implementing it in research, systems, and their general use. The project aims to understand the perspectives of AI4EO researchers on ethics. From there, an educational path could be theorised and implemented.

PI: Prof. Dr. Mrinalini Kochupillai

Ethical Opportunities of Social Media Data.

The use of Social Media data in AI4EO research brings a plethora of ethical opportunities. Such data can bring to light new perspectives for the monitoring and accomplishment of UN SDGs and Human Rights. This project explores these ethical opportunities presented by the fusion of Social Media and EO Data.

PIs: Dr.-Ing. Anna Kruspe; Prof. Dr. Mrinalini Kochupillai; Prof. Dr. -Ing. habil. Xiaoxiang Zhu

This image shows a section of a global 3D model of urban areas and was generated primarily using TanDEM-X Satellite data. To create this model for all cities in the world, sophisticated AI procedures are used. Image: Xiaoxiang Zhu, DLR/TUM

News & Updates

Principal Investigator

Research Partners

Prof. Dr. Xiaoxiang Zhu

Prof. Dr. Xiaoxiang Zhu, Department of Aerospace and Geodesy, TUM

Prof. Dr. Richard Hans Georg Bamler

Prof. Dr. Richard Hans Georg Bamler, Director of The Remote Sensing Technology Institute, DLR

Prof. Dr. Massimo Fornasier, Department of Mathematics, TUM

Prof. Dr. Mrinalini Kochupillai

Dr. Mrinalini Kochupillai, Professorship for Signal Processing in Earth Observation, TUM

Prof. Dr. Christoph Lütge

Prof. Dr. Christoph Lütge, TUM School of Governance, TUM