Artificial intelligence in Cologne: a wide range of applications

The use of computers, software and the internet has now penetrated almost all sectors of the economy, as a result of the digital transformation. This transformation is an ongoing process and is now continuing in the form of AI-based digital tools: Writing text (job ads, press releases, product descriptions), image or video editing, recognising complex patterns in large amounts of data; current applications can mimic human decision-making or creative processes, supporting and relieving their human users. These new "digital assistants" will help small and medium-sized enterprises in particular on their path to growth, competitiveness and future resilience.

Deutsche Version

Note: The images in the collage have been created using artificial intelligence. The text on this page was also created using artificial intelligence.

AI for Cologne

AI-based tools are already part of everyday life in many companies and industries, and have the potential to fundamentally change the way we work. While 16 out of 20 large companies in Cologne are already using AI to further digitalise their processes, only 18% of small and medium-sized enterprises are doing so, according to our latest study. The further digital transformation of the economy holds enormous potential for greater efficiency, productivity and economic growth. 


How does KölnBusiness support you in this change?


1. Continuously support the digitalization of Cologne’s economy, including through the use of AI applications

  • Information on the topic of AI and networking with local and external knowledge providers 
  • Funding advice
  • The Digital Day for Cologne-based companies provides information on all aspects of digitalisation.
  • Webcasts on funding and best practices from Cologne-based companies 

Are you interested in our offer?

Contact us


2. Make the local AI sector more visible and improve access to the Cologne’s economy

Smaller companies and the self-employed in particular need external expertise for their digitalisation efforts. KölnBusiness brings together service providers, universities and knowledge providers and helps you find the right partners:


AI Hub launch site 

STARTPLATZ Köln GmbH, a start-up incubator and accelerator, has been supporting start-ups and young companies since 2012. It offers office space, coaching and events for start-ups. Since this year, STARTPLATZ has increasingly focused on the topic of AI. To this end, they have created the STARTPLATZ AI Hub. It regularly organises workshops, events and bootcamps. 


Cologne AI Machine Learning Meetup 

The Cologne AI and Machine Learning Meetup is a network of AI enthusiasts in Cologne. Members meet several times a year to exchange knowledge, develop ideas and network. There is a strong focus on technology and less on business related topics. The venue changes regularly within Cologne. 


AI Village 

The AI Village is an artificial intelligence innovation campus launched this year to encourage the development of innovative workspaces and interactions with AI.  Demonstrators will showcase new technologies and working models. Visitors will be able to experience and understand AI at first hand in an AI experience area, while regular events and collaborative projects will foster innovation.


3. Connecting AI experts in Cologne and the region

  • At our networking events, you can meet other IT experts who are working on and developing artificial intelligence.

  • Cologne can play a leading role in the development of artificial intelligence in NRW. And one thing is clear: when it comes to AI, our cities are not competing with each other, but NRW is competing with the rest of the world.

  • Training AI models requires high-quality data. Data made publicly available by the city - for example, on the Open Data Cologne platform or in the sample data catalogue for municipalities - is a great advantage for companies.

  • Universities, research institutions, digitisation managers or AI start-ups - are you an expert who wants to be part of the AI dialogue? Write to us and get access to our networking opportunities.

Industry application examples

NetCologne Gesellschaft für Telekommunikation GmbH is a leading telecommunications provider in Germany, based in Cologne. The company is using AI to continuously expand and optimise its fibre-optic network, improving quality and reliability in the long term.

Cologne-based REWE Group has been using AI tools for many years to improve its logistics processes, automate its warehouses and optimise the online ordering process via its technology subsidiary Fulfilmenttools. REWE is also testing automated supermarkets in the Cologne area via the Pick&Go system. 

The AXA Group uses AI in many ways, for example in the Data Innovation Lab or to automate internal processes. AXA has also been running a "symptom check", a digital medical assistant, for several years. The AI application analyses the questions answered by customers and provides information on any symptoms that have occurred.

Foodforecast Technologies GmbH offers AI-based software for food companies that combines historical sales data with influencing factors such as weather and holidays. On this basis, the software generates accurate sales forecasts and order suggestions. This solution minimises labour costs, increases sales and reduces food waste. The AI software integrates seamlessly with the customer's existing IT infrastructure and uses both internal and external data sources.

Road builders, for example, use them to calculate the volume of heaps of bulk material. Some programmes are designed to help detect structural damage or inspect roofs in need of renovation. Abfallwirtschaftsbetriebe Köln GmbH (AWB) is working on pilot projects to equip the city's fleet of commercial vehicles with intelligent cameras. The aim is to automatically detect, photograph and map road damage and blocked manhole covers. This will save manpower and improve service.

The German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) points to a butcher's shop in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania that, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute, has developed an AI-based tool for ordering goods. Using modern software, "sales statistics from previous years were combined with other factors such as the weather or holidays" and production was adjusted accordingly. 

The University Hospital of Cologne plays a key role in research and science and, with almost 10,000 employees, is a major employer in the region. The hospital is successfully using AI in ophthalmology, for example. Staff use AI tools for diagnosis, segmentation and surgical methods to optimise patient care and develop innovative approaches to medicine.

Are you interested in AI?

Would you like to find out more about the possibilities of artificial intelligence for your company or are you interested in networking with the AI sector in Cologne? 

Contact us or take advantage of the free services offered by KI.NRW

Dr. Cédric Reuter

Cologne Science Round Table & Technology Transfer

Lead Markets and Innovation