Safe and Efficient Mobility 4.0

Two men standing behind a car Copyright: © ika/RWTH Aachen

NRW Minister of Transport Hendrik Wüst took the opportunity to visit the Aldenhoven Testing Center (ATC) and the Future Mobility Center of RWTH Aachen during his 2018 fall trip.


The hosts were Professor Dirk Abel, Institute of Automatic Control (IRT), Professor Lutz Eckstein, Institute for Automotive Engineering (IKA), Professor Stefan Kowalewski, Chair of Computer Science – Embedded Software (i11), and Professor Christian Schindler, Institute of Rail Vehicles and Transport Systems (IFS).

Aldenhoven Testing Center stands for automated and interconnected traffic

The ATC is the most advanced testing center preparing for the mobility of the future in Europe. With the urban test environment CERMcity, which was opened on October 1, 2018, it now features twelve test track elements. This allows for the recreation of nearly any situtation that might occur in real traffic. In addition, all relevant communication technologies, such as mobile communications or WLAN, are available for exchange of data between vehicles, road users, and the surrounding environment.

In the ika's test vehicle SpeedE, the minister was able to drive through the new city area himself and experience crossroads, traffic circles, parking areas and stops. Since future mobility will be shaped by automated and networked driving, with inner cities posing the greatest challenge, such intelligent test tracks are vital, so that only vehicles and systems that are absolutely safe will be allowed on the streets.

"The SpeedE is a good example of how mobility can look like in the future. With it, you can experience the advantages of an electric drive first hand. The team is working to take advantage of the opportunities created by the mobility of the future, while at the same time thinking of every imaginable risk, testing for it and overcoming it. The greater region of Aachen is justifiably proud of the know-how and skills that are found here with regard to mobility 4.0," Minister Wüst reported.

  A man climbing into a car Copyright: © ika/RWTH Aachen Minister Hendrik Wüst is testing the ika research vehicle SpeedE on the test track at Aldenhoven Testing Center.

Joystick steering similar to that in airplanes, provides the driver with an experience that is as intuitive as it is exciting. Wüst gave it a try and was easily convinced during his test drive. The steer-by-wire system allows for a 90-degree steering angle and thus comfortable turning on the spot.

"The Aldenhoven Testing Center is a joint venture of RWTH Aachen and the municipality of Düren that is open to interested companies, in particular mid-sized companies or start-ups," emphasized district administrator Wolfgang Spelthan, pointing out the importance of the center for the region.

Future Mobility Lab consolidates competencies of RWTH and its partners

The Future Mobility Lab conducts research to gain insight into the mobility of the future with regard to both individual and societal needs. A particular focus lies on energy and environmental concerns, as well as on the global trend towards urbanization and increased traffic safety. In Aachen, the minister was able to experience the latest solutions first hand: Automated vehicles moving along planned pathways on their own, a special navigational solution supporting wheelchair drivers, automated flight systems assisting emergency technicians in complex emergency situations, and even rail buses already driving autonomously.



Micha Lesemann

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RWTH expert Eckstein sees both opportunities and challenges ahead with regard to mobility in North Rhine-Westphalia: "The Future Mobility Lab offers both pooled interdisciplinary competencies as well as the most innovative research and development environment for automated and networked driving. In order to be competitive in the global market, we need agile and attractive research models that allow us to unlock the potential of these assets for NRW and Germany." Wüst also got an idea of how this might be accomplished by testing the highly dynamic driving simulator at the ika. With the help of this singular tool, the interplay between man and technology can be analyzed in a manner that is both safe and easily recreated. An integrated function assists the driver in avoiding collisions with other vehicles or buildings in a way that can most easily be described with help of the metaphor of magnetic repulsion. "The journey in the driving simulator points to the future: The mobility and vehicle applications of tomorrow become tangible and new technologies appear within our grasp," the minister concludes, throughly impressed.

Source: Press and Communications