Progress in the CHARM research project

European research collaboration drives the development of IoT solutions in harsh industrial environments.

Donnersdorf, December 18th, 2023. The starting signal was given three years ago for joint research activities involving a total of 37 partners from 10 European countries. Once in the final phase, InnoSenT GmbH draws a conclusion and then reports on the results of the CHARM funding project. The project aimed to design and research innovative technical solutions with high tolerance and reliability for use in challenging industries such as mining, chemicals or nuclear power. The knowledge gained is now being used for the expansion of the development of smart systems in harsh areas of application. They are intended to make activities safer, more efficient and more autonomous even under extreme conditions.

Prototype for autonomous machines in mines

One part of the project dealt with autonomous machines in mining. In the past, sensors for detection and localization didn't work due to challenges underground like strong vibrations, noise, high humidity, dust, fog, or darkness. Technologies such as lidar, laser, or ultrasound failed before, so robust radar technology was in focus for the project. Unfortunately, the previously available radar sensors for automotive applications turned out to be unsuitable. So the goal was to create an innovative sensor for machine protection and environment detection as the first and most important step for autonomous driving.


As a radar expert with years of experience in HF-Technology and signal processing, InnoSenT contributed a significant part to this innovation. The German company developed the hardware and software for the radar sensor, carried out testing and supported vehicle integration and application in the mine. During the three years of research, the project partners collaborated interdisciplinary to put the prototype through its paces. They also defined which requirements have to be met and which special features have to be taken into account when taking measurements on site. In addition to stress tests in the laboratory, the companies also jointly carried out field tests in a mine in Finland to verify the design under extreme conditions.

“The underground environment presents new challenges for radar technology. The research work gave us the opportunity to test the developed radar module not only in laboratory simulation, but also under real operating conditions. The research findings are extremely important in order to continue working on performance and making the systems available to industry. However, this also requires further advances in chip technology,” says Thilo Lenhard, contact person for research projects at InnoSenT.

The work for this application was successfully completed in October 2023. The result is a high-resolution radar module with innovative beam forming algorithms, state-of-the-art hardware and new waveguide-based antenna arrays, which is suitable for the harsh environment. The prototype is ahead of conventional sensors and makes environmental detection possible despite challenges in mining. The diverse goals of the project have been successfully achieved. This is a significant advance for the promotion and future use of autonomous mining machines.

The Charm project started in June 2020 and will run until February 2024 due to an extension. A total budget of 29 million euros is available for research activities. The funds are jointly provided by the ECSEL JU joint initiative, the EU framework program Horizon 2020, national funds and the consortium partners from ten European countries. Further information about the project and the 5 other application areas can be found at: