MIT, Fraunhofer research future mobility

July 11, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
How can mobility be implemented in 2050 - in a world with an estimated population of some 9 billion people? Top research institutes in Germany and the United States have launched a collaboration to find solutions for the mobility for the next generation.

With the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Fraunhofer IAO in Stuttgart, two research institutions with a very different approach have joined forces to find answers to the question how mobility in the future can be organised: MIT with its SENSEable City Lab is one of the world's leading institutions for high-technology research whereas Fraunhofer IAO is very much oriented to near-application research. In the Ambient Mobility Lab, researchers from both institutions will conduct joint research projects over the 15 years ahead. The goal is developing sustainable, future-oriented mobility concepts, assess them and make them applicable on an industrial basis.

The spectrum of topics includes innovative technologies such as autonomous driving, new drive concepts, vehicle sharing solutions, and application options for Augmented Reality. Not at least the activities will take into consideration how these technologies can interact with existing and future smart city infrastructures. The problems to be solved are huge, given the urgency of environmental burdens and the speed at which those problems are exacerbating: Of the nine billion inhabitants of the planet earth expected for 2050, more than 75% will live in urban agglomerations; and energy as well as environmental pollution are expected to put serious limitations to individual mobility.

During a two-day opening event at Fraunhofer IAO in Stuttgart, researchers and politicians informed the public about the German-American cooperation project. The cooperation is designed to stimulate the automotive and supplier industry in both countries, said Nils Schmid, minister for research of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg which in part funds the projects. Baden-Wuerttemberg is home state of two major OEMs (Daimler and Porsche) as well as of Bosch as one of the largest automotive suppliers. Jeffrey M. Hill from the US consulate general pointed out that "sustainable mobility requires constant investments into modernising the infrastructure as well as the technology". Carlo Ratti, director of MIT's SENSEable City Lab said the ubiquitous computing infrastructure in cities opens up