Press Release 24/2007

A House for the Automobile of the Future

The Federal Republic of Germany and the State Are Funding a Building for Vehicle Systems Technology
Unique today already: Investigation of the traction behavior on driving surfaces. (Photo by: IFFMA, Universität Karlsruhe)

Dr. Elisabeth Zuber-Knost
Press Officer

Kaiserstraße 12
76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 721/608-2089
Fax: +49 (0) 721/608-3658

The KIT is enhancing its focus on mobility. For the planned research building for “Interdisciplinary Vehicle Systems Technology”, the Federal Republic of Germany and the State are providing funds in the amount of about 11 million Euros. They bear half of the costs each. This possibility to study not only passenger cars, but also commercial vehicles and mobile working machines is another big step forwards for the inter-faculty competence center “Center of Automotive Research and Technology” (CART) and will help to strengthen the Center’s leading position in Germany.

For details, please contact:
Prof. Dr. rer.nat. Frank Gauterin
Institut für Fahrzeugtechnik und Mobile Arbeitsmaschinen
Kaiserstraße 10
76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Phone: +49 721 2370
Fax: +49 721 4146

CART Office
Dr.-Ing. Michael Frey
Kaiserstr. 10
76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Phone: +49 721 6490
Fax: +49 721 6228

Already now, the Institut für Fahrzeugtechnik und Mobile Arbeitsmaschinen (IFFMA, Institute for Automotive Technology and Mobile Working Machines) of the Universität Karlsruhe, to which this new building shall belong, is able to study the traction of tires on real driving surfaces in its experiment hall. This possibility of testing tires in a controlled manner under various weather conditions on ice and snow is unique in the world. The currently used inner drum test rig, however, only allows to study the tires of passenger cars.

A new larger test rig, the most important components of which are already available, but have not yet been installed for reasons of space, will be accommodated in the new building. Thus, research capacities will be extended to also cover large commercial vehicles. Here, the IFFMA will play a pioneer role in the world.

The planned building will be erected on the site of the Mackensen barracks nearly 2.5 km away from the university campus. There, the KIT wishes to concentrate its vehicle technology activities.

The new building will not only close a gap in the experimental facilities of the KIT to study vehicle subsystems. The focus will rather be on the integrated analysis of overall vehicle systems, also of large and four-wheel-driven vehicles. “The behavior of the entire vehicle under the surrounding traffic conditions and in interaction with the driver has not yet been studied adequately. But with the increasing complexity of vehicles, analysis of interactions has become more important than ever before”, says Professor Frank Gauterin, who heads the competence center CART and the IFFMA together with Professor Marcus Geimer.

So far, the roller test bench available at the Institut für Produktentwicklung (IPEK, Institute for Product Development) has been the only laboratory facility for reproducible experiments with the entire vehicle at the KIT. “With the new experiment hall, we will be able to significantly extend our research activities in the field of vehicle systems technology. We will set up a four-wheel test rig for passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and mobile working machines. Moreover, we will establish innovative experimental facilities to operate entire vehicles in a simulated traffic situation. These will be further features of uniqueness of CART,” underlines Gauterin.

The competence center CART - a constituent of the KIT concept for the future - bundles the vehicle technology activities under the KIT focus “Mobility”. CART studies the methodological and technical bases of the vehicle of the future. The focus is put on energy efficiency and emission reduction, driving safety, industrial safety as well as on usability and comfort of passenger cars, commercial vehicles, mobile working machines and, in the future, also rail vehicles. More than 30 institutes, above all from the faculties of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, and Information Science as well as the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) and the Institute for Nanotechnology (INT) of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe are involved in CART.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) represents the merger of the Universität Karlsruhe with the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. Altogether, it has 8000 employees and an annual budget of 600 million Euros. In the KIT, both partners are bundling their scientific competences and capacities, establishing optimum research structures, and developing joint strategies and visions.

The KIT will be an institution of internationally excellent research and teaching in natural and engineering sciences. KIT shall attract the best experts from all over the world, set new standards in teaching and promotion of young scientists, and establish the leading European center in the field of energy research. KIT will assume a leading role in nanosciences worldwide. It is the objective of KIT to be one of the most important cooperation partners of industry

lg, November 22, 2007


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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presseFkr3∂kit edu or phone: +49 721 608-41105.