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

Areas of research

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



●    Urban Delivery Systems
This team conducts analyses of markets, technologies and locations; it designs system solutions for customer-friendly logistics and services that are geared to demand, supports project implementations, and helps companies develop new business models. Our vision of the future aims to establish urban-friendly logistics that provide maximum sustainability and efficiency in urban spaces.

●    Smart Urban Environments
The Smart Urban Environments team develops viable solutions for urban, residential and living spaces of the future. Team members accomplish this by considering flexible technologies and the diverse factors impacting people, available space and organization. Our vision of the future consists of livable and pioneering urban districts, creating a link between solutions that are both sustainable and digital.

●    Urban Governance Innovation
This team helps cities methodically shape innovation processes at the interface between municipal authorities, private enterprise and the general public. Team members also support local communities in developing and implementing integrated strategies. Our vision of the future consists of bringing together sustainable urban development, data-based solutions, and the market for clean and connected technologies.

●    Urban Data and Resilience
The Urban Data and Resilience team strives to make cities livable, safe and resilient. To this end, we focus on IT-based collaboration with the general public and the third sector; we also utilize existing urban data for resilient strategic and administrative processes. Our vision of the future aims at administrative and decision-making processes that are IT-based and resilient for the cities, towns and regions of tomorrow.

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



●    Mobility Innovation

The Mobility Innovation team studies digital transformation in the automotive industry. By leveraging years of experience in this sector as well as modern methods of technology and innovation management, this team will contribute to the design of tomorrow’s sustainable vehicles for years to come. This team regularly relies on the mobility innovation lab, which serves as a creative space for ideation and expert workshops as well as a prototyping facility enabling work on innovative formats.

●    Mobility Ecosystems

The Mobility Ecosystems team not only assists companies and municipalities in actively shaping their transition to future mobility, but also in harnessing the innovative power behind a digitalized mobility ecosystem. Our work on projects begins in labs that we ourselves designed and set up. To name just one example: our smart microgrid demonstrator, which includes a charging infrastructure and a fleet of electric vehicles.

●    Technology and Innovation Intelligence

This interdisciplinary team looks at smart-data approaches to develop solutions that empower companies and organizations to strategically identify, evaluate and implement new technologies or fields of application. In addition, team members help organizations design and implement effective, long-term management of technologies and innovations.


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