Areas of research: Urban Systems Engineering and Mobility and Innovation Systems

For more than ten years, Fraunhofer IAO has had an applied research focus on the design of future-oriented urban and mobility systems. In closely cooperating research areas, more than 60 scientists in eight teams are currently researching and developing prototype solutions, tools and strategies for innovations in products, business models, services and processes for the future world. We understand markets, customers and fields of application - always taking a holistic approach with the optimal interplay of ecological, economic and social sustainability. With cross-sector innovation networks such as FutureCar, Morgenstadt or FutureHotel, we cooperate with large alliances and strategically bring innovations to realization - from start-ups to global market leaders, from metropolises to medium-sized cities. For this purpose, we have our own laboratory infrastructures and test environments in reality and in virtual space. Our special feature is the positioning of our research competencies between business and the public sector: We do not only develop innovative urban development or mobility concepts, but also establish win-win strategies and accompany the transfer for new partnerships, piloting and scaling processes in smart and climate-neutral economic and living spaces.


Our Teams

Urban Systems Engineering


Our Teams

Mobility and Innovation Systems

About us

Urban Systems Engineering

In the scope of industrial consulting projects as well as research projects funded at national and international levels, the teams of Urban Systems Engineering scientists conduct research on creative and inspiring approaches and business models for sustainable, livable and adaptable cities, logistics and safety of tomorrow.

Envisioning the life and urban settings of tomorrow, developing future-oriented urban infrastructures, creating space and shaping society in a sustainable manner


Urban systems in interaction with people, technology and the space they occupy

Some current projects entail the creation of innovative participation methods and co-creative processes to involve people in development projects that will jointly shape the livable cities of tomorrow. Our scientists tap into the opportunities provided by digitalization, IT and communication technologies in built-up areas. We also create organizational and information technology concepts for our customers, in compliance with the latest data protection regulations, to further develop urban processes in the best possible way. In addition, our interdisciplinary teams carry out in-depth research on the societal consequences of urban developments and put current scientific knowledge to use.


Our Urban Systems Engineering researchers focus on:

•    System solutions for customer-friendly logistics and services that are geared to demand

•    Identification and assessment of service potential in the sphere of urban logistics

•    Integrated management of urban parking facilities and setup of microhubs in city centers

•    Scientific assistance on experiments and reality labs in urban spaces

•    Development of intelligent district concepts

•    »Morgenstadt – city of the future« as a new paradigm of urban development

•    Internationalization of potential solutions for sustainable construction and urban planning

•    Use of creative formats for the transdisciplinary networking of stakeholders

•    Shaping of innovation processes at the interface between municipal authorities, private enterprise and the general public

•    Optimization of crisis and disaster management in cooperation with various stakeholders

Mobility and Innovation Systems

In the scope of many different research projects, our scientists on Mobility and Innovation Systems teams establish solutions and methods for generating, designing, introducing and assessing new product, process and service innovations as part of the transition to future mobility.

Understanding markets and customer requirements, identifying and using technologies purposefully, envisioning organizational and value-creation models


Looking at the big picture and actively shaping tomorrow’s transformation processes and innovation systems

Some current projects include putting together comprehensive mobility and energy concepts, adding electric vehicles to fleets, identifying and assessing the service potential of automated driving, and analyzing (mobility) data to craft new business models. In joint cross-sector projects, our Fraunhofer IAO researchers identify and harness technological potential that can help market players gain or even sharpen their competitive edge.

To ensure that we translate theory into practice, we test our approaches on our own fleet of electric vehicles, in our smart microgrid living lab or in our in-house mobility innovation lab, which is a prototyping facility as well as a creativity space for ideation and expert workshops.


Our Mobility and Innovation Systems researchers focus on:

•    Mobility trends and innovative technologies

•    Autonomous driving and use of time

•    Innovative technologies for the vehicles and microcars of tomorrow

•    Electromobility and local energy systems

•    Charging-infrastructure concepts, business and operator models

•    Digitalization and transformation of the mobility sector

•    Value creation and employment

•    Participation and innovation formats