On the Path Towards Mobility 4.0


In the summer, Andreas Pinkwart, the NRW Minister of Innovation and Science, visited RWTH’s Future Mobility Lab. The visit was hosted by the Institute for Automative Engineering headed by Professor Lutz Eckstein.

  Copyright: © Martin Dietze Professor Dirk Abel (left) from the Institute of Automatic Control (IRT) explains the functionality of the IRT buggy to Minister Pinkwart.

The Future Mobility Lab is part of the Mobility & Transport Profile Area at RWTH Aachen University, a cross-faculty, interdisciplinary research association which is concerned with a future mobility which is to meet individual and societal needs. Special emphasis is placed on energy and environmental issues as well as on worldwide urbanization trends. As Pinkwart said after his visit, “We want to make North Rhine-Westphalia one of the leading locations for the research and testing of Mobility 4.0 concepts. It is impressive to see how RWTH with its unique infrastructure has become a driver of the topics electric mobility and autonomous driving.”

The creation of future mobility solutions is one of the global challenges of our time that can only be addressed in interdisciplinary approaches. The Future Mobility Lab draws on the competencies of professors Lutz Eckstein, Dirk Abel, Stefan Kowalewski, Markus Oeser, and Martina Ziefle, who put human needs and capabilities at the focus of designing the mobility solutions of the future.

  Individuals looking at a small vehicle Copyright: © Martin Dietze Professor Lutz Eckstein (right) from the Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika) presents the SpeedE research vehicle to Minister Pinkwart.

Minister Pinkwart Tests ika’s SpeedE

The SpeedE, ika’s research vehicle, is a good example – it makes the benefits of an electrically powered vehicle experienceable. The steer-by-wire system allows to achieve steering angles of up to 90 °deg – this makes it possible for the vehicle to turn on its own axis. This feature, in combination with the novel sidestick steering, makes for a great driving experience.

In a discussion with the minister, Lutz Eckstein emphasized that “even given the great progress that has been made, the challenges posed by the creation of future mobility are immense. Only through intense research and testing, e.g. of autonomous, interconnected traffic here in North Rhine-Westphalia, are we able to contribute to the design of future global mobility solutions.”



Micha Lesemann

Senior Engineer


+49 241 80-27535



Unique Infrastructure for Future Mobility

An important asset for the testing of future mobility, and, most importantly, for making it “safe,” is RWTH’s Aldenhoven Testing Center. This unique environment facilitates the systematic testing of automated, connected vehicles in various driving scenarios. The goal is to make sure that the newly developed vehicle functions are fully functional and safe. Only then can they be introduced into real-world traffic.

Currently the Aldenhoven Testing Center is being expanded to include an urban test environment, scheduled to open in October 2018. It makes it possible to test typical situations around urban traffic components such as crossroads, roundabouts, parking spots, bus stops, and crosswalks. The test environment will be equipped with a set of measuring devices which can also be placed outside of the test site. The “HDV-Mess” project, which receives support from the federal state of NRW, is capable of recording a wealth of data on real-life traffic situations and make them available to research.

Pinkwart and RWTH’s mobility experts agree that the change process in the area of mobility offers many opportunities for North Rhine-Westphalia. A new research center is to bring the different disciplines under one roof and thus to further promote interdisciplinary collaboration.