District of Düren and RWTH Aachen University Establish Future Mobility Park
By establishing the Aldenhoven Testing Center ATC around ten years ago, RWTH Aachen University and the District of Düren have put the site of the former Emil Mayrisch coal mine to a new use. Where once miners used to extract coal, automated and networked vehicles are now being developed and tested.
Now the District of Düren and RWTH are taking the next step: By expanding the ATC into the "Future Mobility Park," they are developing, together with the surrounding communities and other partners in the region, a tailored environment for companies and organizations in the mobility sector. On Friday, 14 February 2020, the advisory and supervisory boards of the newly established association held their constituent meetings.
For District Administrator Wolfgang Spelthahn, who chairs the supervisory and advisory board of the association, the Future Mobility Park is one of the most important projects in the Düren district: "By setting up this park, we are continuing to put the region at the forefront of mobility research. In this way we are creating opportunities for many new jobs, which we urgently need in view of the structural change in this former mining region.
Structural Change as a Driver of Mobility
The structural change in the Rhenish coal mining area will also lead to changes in the mobility sector. For the researchers active in RWTH’s Future Mobility Center, which pools the mobility competencies of the University, this is an exciting challenge. Together with many partners from research and industry, they strive to develop a mobility strategy for the largely rural area and implement it as a pilot project. The goal is to accelerate the transfer from research to real-world for the benefit the people in the region.
The rector of RWTH Aachen University, Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, who is deputy chairman of the association’s supervisory board, comments on the role of the University in this endeavor: "Since 2009, in Aldenhoven, researchers from our University have been working on the mobility of tomorrow. Over the next few years, our interdisciplinary teams of mechanical, electrical, and civil engineers as well as computer scientists and humanities scholars will help shape the structural change of the Rhenish mining region."
By turning the challenges of structural change into opportunities, the District of Düren and RWTH aim to drive the development of the Rhenish coal mining area into an “Innovation Valley.” The collaborative venture is to demonstrate how far-reaching changes such as the energy transition and digitalization can be implemented for the benefit of people and the environment.
The District of Düren and RWTH have joined forces to establish the Future Mobility Park GmbH. District Administrator Wolfgang Spelthahn (6th from left) has been announced as chair of the new company's supervisory and advisory boards. RWTH Rector Ulrich Rüdiger (6th from left) has been appointed deputy chair of the supervisory board.