Fully automated, modular vehicles for the mobility of the future. For the UNICARagail lighthouse project, eight universities and their industrial partners are working to rethink vehicle design. Today, one of four prototypes arrived at Ulm University. The novel delivery van autoCARGO will be navigating through city centres without a driver in the near future.
On Thursday afternoon, the automotive future arrived at Ulm University in the back of a lorry. At the Institute of Measurement, Control and Microtechnology (Insitut für Mess-, Regel- und Mikrotechnik, MRM), the prototype autoCARGO is now being upgraded for automation – from installing sensory modules and computer equipment to the first test drives. The objective is driverless mobility in demanding urban environments shared by cars, pedestrians and cyclists. The team of engineers at Ulm University are particularly concentrating on surveying the vehicle’s environment and “understanding” the traffic conditions. “Our automation concept naturally includes safety precautions as well. We need to be able to guarantee that the car will stop in the event of a malfunction or if an unexpected situation arises. We also need to ensure that the car will interact with the monitoring control room,” explains Dr Michael Buchholz from the MRM, who is responsible for coordinating the work on vehicle automation within the research project.
Other vehicle designs in the UNICARagil project are focusing on taxi services (autoTAXI), inner-city shuttles (autoSHUTTLE) and individual mobility (autoELF). All of the work on the four prototypes is being carried out in parallel with the UNICARagail project partners with regard to driving functions, safety components, energy management and, of course, automation. “The innovation lies in the concept of the modular system with continuous self-monitoring of all components. When individual components are defective during operation, not only will they be detected, but they will also be compensated for with full or just slightly restricted functionality,” sums up Professor Klaus Dietmayer, director of the Institute of Measurement, Control and Microtechnology. The final presentation of all UNICARagil vehicle designs is planned for 2023.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) is providing funding in the amount of 26 million euros for the UNICARagil project. The following institutes are involved in the project, which is being coordinated by RWTH Aachen: TU Braunschweig, TU Darmstadt, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), TU Munich, the University of Passau, the University of Stuttgart and Ulm University, as well as the following industrial partners: ATLATEC GmbH, flyXdrive GmbH, iMAR Navigation GmbH, IPG Automotive GmbH, Schaeffler Technologies AG & CO. KG, VIRES Simulationstechnologie GmbH, Maxion Wheels Germany Holding GmbH and Valeo Schalter und Sensoren GmbH.
Text and mediencontact: Annika Bingmann