Press Release 102/2011

KARIS Is Winner in the Land of Ideas

Institute for Material Handling and Logistics Celebrates Award’s Ceremony with an Open Day on Next Wednesday
KARIS – autonome Elemente optimieren den Materialfluss in Warenlagern und Fertigungshallen (Foto: KIT)
KARIS – autonomous elements optimize materials flow at stores and production halls. (Photo: KIT)

KARIS, the intelligent materials flow system developed by the Institute for Material Handling and Logistics of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is awardee in the competition “365 Orte im Land der Ideen” (365 places in the land of ideas). The system consists of small autonomous elements optimizing materials flow at stores or production halls. On June 22, the Institute will receive the award on an Open Day.

Materials flow systems are the heart of any store and production hall. However, stationary systems used so far, such as roller conveyors, meet today’s alternating requirements to an insufficient degree only. Their adaptation requires a high expenditure and is associated with high costs. In the future, intelligent and small autonomous transporters are to transport objects much more flexibly and inexpensively than existing systems.

With KARIS (Small-scale Autonomous Redundant Intralogistics System), KIT scientists focus on the interaction of a number of small, quick, and autonomous elements instead of rigid systems. Development of this novel system was inspired by the flexible transportation logistics of an ant colony. The individual KARIS elements have a base area of half a square meter and are 40 centimeters high. Thanks to special sensors, the intelligent transport units are capable of orienting autonomously in their environment. Mutual coordination via a WLAN component ensures that they are always there when objects have to be transported. For the transportation of larger objects, they may also combine to clusters of variable size. 

“We are very proud of being a ‘selected place’ in the land of ideas,” says Professor Kai Furmans, Head of the Institute for Material Handling and Logistics, IFL, of KIT. “KARIS stands for materials flow at future stores and production halls: Autonomous, flexible, resources-efficient.”

Frank Arlaud from Deutsche Bank, Karlsruhe, will hand over the award “Ausgewählter Ort 2011” (selected place 2011) on June 22 and emphasizes prior to the ceremony: “The intralogistics system of KIT is an excellent example of Germany as a location of innovation and shows how transportation processes within a company will be carried out more flexibly and efficiently in the future.”

The award’s ceremony is planned to start at 16.45 hrs and will be part of an Open Day of the Institute for Material Handling and Logistics. It will begin at 13.30 hrs and offer tours through the Institute and various presentations on aspects of future logistics concepts.

The Germany-wide competition “365 Orte im Land der Ideen” visualizes the potentials of Germany as a location of innovation. Since 2006, this competition has been organized by the initiative “Deutschland – Land der Ideen” (Germany – land of ideas) together with Deutsche Bank under the auspices of the Federal President. The KARIS project of the Institute for Material Handling and Logistics is one of 2600 applications submitted this year.

For KARIS, KIT logistics experts have been cooperating with a total of eleven partners from science and industry that have joined the “AGT Intralogistik BW” since 2007. The KARIS project is funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts (MWK).

A short film on KARIS can be found at:

The Mobility Systems Center pools KIT activities relating to vehicle technology. Presently, 40 KIT institutes with about 800 employees are working on methodological and technical fundamentals for tomorrow’s vehicles. It is their objective to develop energy-efficient, low-emission, and safe vehicles and mobility concepts. The researchers also consider the complex interactions of vehicle, driver, traffic, and society.

Under the heading of “Future Mobility”, KIT will present its scientific activities on its new “Campus East – Mobility and Innovation” during an Open Day on July 02. More information can be found at:

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

jh, 20.06.2011


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
presse does-not-exist.kit edu

Contact for this press release:

Inge Arnold
Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing (PKM)
Phone: +49 721 608-22861
Fax: +49 721 608-25080
inge arnold does-not-exist.kit edu
The photo in the best quality available to us may be requested by
presse does-not-exist.kit edu or phone: +49 721 608-41105.

The press release is available as a PDF file.