Quality Assurance in Times of Industry 4.0 – Portrait of Dr. Petra Gospodnetić!

Today we want to present a Portrait of Dr. Petra Gospodnetić, who found her way to the Fraunhofer ITWM during her studies via an internship and has been working in our department »Image Processing« ever since.

Petras Way to our Institute

At the end of her studies, she found that the Croatian job market at the time offered few opportunities that matched her main interest – working with images from a technical perspective. »I wanted to do an internship and said, OK, I want to go somewhere else, gain experience, and that’s how I found Fraunhofer ITWM on the internet. The department was advertising internships, and the projects listed on the website seemed really interesting. So I sent off my cover letter, Petra adds: »It was definitely an overly enthusiastic cover letter!«. Excited, she traveled to the interview, arriving far too early. As she waited in the foyer for Kai Taeubner, the head of the image processing lab, she noticed a squirrel that had strayed into the building. »I was able to pass the time well by catching it and it provided us with a topic of conversation right away«, she recalls with a laugh. »We then quickly agreed on the content of my internship and I received an ERASMUS grant to complete it.«

Once she arrived at the institute, she spent two months working with Kai Taeubner on preparing a visual inspection system. »We set up the light, the camera and the product, analyzed the PRE study and took the pictures. And the whole time I was wondering, ‘Seriously, we’re still doing this manually?’ Kai and I know what we’re doing here, but it must be possible to automate this!« To continue this vision, Petra decided to write her master’s thesis at Fraunhofer ITWM. In collaboration with Falco Hirschberger, this resulted in the first software that enables camera positioning to be planned in inspection planning.

Her Path to a Doctorate

Petra enjoyed working at the institute right from the start, and she also felt at home in the Palatinate region – not least because she is allowed to bring her dog into the office. In the meantime, she has also won round her husband, who has now joined her in the Palatinate after they commuted between Kaiserslautern and Zagreb for a long time.

Although she had previously turned down the opportunity to write a dissertation in Zagreb, she accepted Markus Rauhut’s offer to also write her doctoral thesis in the Image Processing department. What convinced her? The opportunity to further advance the inspection planning solution she had developed. Rauhut suggested Prof. Dr. Hans Hagen from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern as her doctoral advisor and, together, they went for an initial meeting. »We talked about doctoral studies in general, and then Prof. Hagen asked me why I wanted to do a doctorate. And I told him straight that I wasn’t pursuing a doctorate. That was never my goal. My goal is to do good work, to find a solution to inspection planning, and if that gets me a Ph.D., I have no problem with that.«

In April 2021, Petra handed in her dissertation, which was awarded summa cum laude and for which she received the award of the Friends of the TU Kaiserslautern. In her dissertation, she developed software for the visual inspection of workpieces that simulates photorealistic images and generates training data sets. And because she is still very much at home at the institute and is on an extremely successful path to industry with her beloved inspection planning project, she is staying with us. She is currently leading a project on image simulation with a focus on machine vision and machine learning which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

You can find the detailed portrait of Dr. Petra Gospodnetić here on our website: https://www.itwm.fraunhofer.de/gospodnetic-portrait-en