Press Release 064/2022

Schaeffler and KIT: Strategic Partnership Boosts Mobility Research

Enhanced Cooperation in Research, Teaching and Innovation
Left to right: Uwe Wagner, Schaeffler AG; Prof. Holger Hanselka, KIT; Matthias Zink, Schaeffler AG; Prof. Thomas Hirth, KIT (detailed caption at end of text)
Left to right: Uwe Wagner, Schaeffler AG; Prof. Holger Hanselka, KIT; Matthias Zink, Schaeffler AG; Prof. Thomas Hirth, KIT (detailed caption at end of text)

Electric drives, batteries, hydrogen technology, autonomous vehicles: the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the industrial supplier Schaeffler have been cooperating on pioneering mobility solutions for many years. Now a strategic partnership aims to strengthen their efforts to develop and deploy new technologies and ideas; the partners signed an agreement in Karlsruhe on July 4, 2022.

Schaeffler is already present at KIT with its “SHARE at KIT” (SHARE stands for Schaeffler Hub for Advanced Research) research center. In this cooperation model, called “Company on Campus,” the company and the KIT Mobility Systems Center jointly conduct research on energy storage and conversion systems, electric drives and autonomous mobility. With their strategic partnership, KIT and Schaeffler are now strengthening this successful cooperation.

“Mobility research has a long tradition and special significance at KIT, particularly with its interfaces to information technology and energy research. Our close cooperation with industry partners is one of the reasons we can make valuable contributions in this field and systematically prepare young people for responsible positions,” said Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT, at the contract signing. “That’s why we’re expanding our partnership with Schaeffler. I’m convinced that together we can make crucial contributions to the sustainable mobility solutions that are so urgently needed.”

Uwe Wagner, Chief Technology Officer at Schaeffler AG, said: “Now more than ever, pioneering spirit and innovativeness are crucial to mastering the transformation and making mobility sustainable for future generations. The key is to identify trends early and develop relevant innovations. SHARE at KIT helps us to do that, with an agile environment where we can work closely with scientists to identify and implement solutions for the future.”

Working Together on the Future of Mobility

Joint research and teaching at SHARE at KIT began in 2012. Since then 205 students and 30 PhD candidates have completed their degrees there. All told, about 450 students have availed themselves of the center’s diverse offerings. In large joint projects with other partners, researchers work on technologies and ideas for the future of mobility. For example, the completed SmartLoad research project resulted in innovative methods to improve the reliability of highly automated electric vehicles. The first joint research efforts by KIT and Schaeffler were in the late 1990s; they intensified with the founding of the KIT Mobility Systems Center in 2009.

“With direct contact between engineers in research and practice as ‘Company on Campus’, both sides benefit and innovations can be implemented faster,” said Professor Thomas Hirth, Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs at KIT. “SHARE at KIT is seen today as a best-practice model for cooperation between industry and universities and is being adopted in a similar form at other institutions.”

Agile Production for the 21st Century

Current examples of joint research include the multi-institute projects AgiloDrive and AgiloBat involving the KIT Mobility Systems Center and the KIT Energy Center. In both projects, the aim is to improve the production of electric motors (AgiloDrive) and battery cells (AgiloBat) for electromobility and other applications by making it more flexible, more economical in small lots, and more efficient and agile through automation. Other joint activities involve research on new drive system solutions, which also includes hydrogen-electric drives.

More information:

More about the KIT Mobility Systems Center:

Detailed caption: KIT and Schaeffler boost mobility research with a strategic partnership: Uwe Wagner, Chief Technology Officer, Schaeffler AG; Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT; Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies, Schaeffler AG; Professor Thomas Hirth, Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs at KIT (photo: Tanja Meißner, KIT)

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.

mhe, 05.07.2022

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