Driving Automation

Versuchsfahrzeuge für Technologie-Experimente (VERTEX)
© Fraunhofer IOSB
Experimental Vehicles for Technology Experiments (VERTEX)

Autonomous driving moves society and the professional world. While on the one hand it is being discussed under which circumstances and under which legal conditions (fully) automated driving is possible, on the other hand the research and development departments are constantly advancing the technological possibilities. Last but not least, prominent examples such as the Google car, Daimler's Bertha-Benz drive in Baden-Württemberg, the distance travelled by a self-driving Audi A7 from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas and the self-driving vehicles in the city traffic of Shanghai, Parma and Braunschweig show the rapid technological progress. But automated driving also offers potential for freight transport and innovative logistics solutions.

The transformation to autonomous driving takes place in five stages. Before vehicles can operate autonomously in all situations, efficient and affordable technologies must be developed. Aspects of reliability and cyber security must be clarified. Answers to ethical and insurance law questions must be found. Legal framework conditions must be created for this purpose. The currently volatile social acceptance and the expected market acceptance must be taken into account. These socio-technical aspects result in a branch of research that deals with the occupants of automated vehicles and their activities from a technological, psychological and sociological point of view, which go far beyond the classical aspects of human-vehicle interaction.


  • Development and investigation of control transfer scenarios and procedures for semi-automated driving
  • Sensors and algorithms for the automation of motion tasks
  • Development of specialized 24-GHz and 77-GHz radar sensors for vehicle automation
  • Development of situation prediction and manoeuvre planning, sometimes using AI for complex driving situations
  • Evaluation of deployment scenarios in freight transport and urban logistics
  • Studies on autonomous driving in passenger and freight transport
  • Alternative activities in vehicles - research and development of mobile living spaces with empirical methods in studies and experiments in simulators and on the road
  • Investigation of complex interaction patterns between automated and non-automated road users (mixed traffic) in interactive simulation
  • Networking of interactive driving simulators with pedestrian interaction (virtual reality laboratories)
  • Development of concepts for validation & verification of highly automated driving functions
  • Simulation methods for highly automated driving functions
  • Evaluation of functional safety, safety/security co-engineering
  • Reliable use of AI methods in highly automated vehicles


Further information

Autonomous Driving in Logistics [Fraunhofer IML (German)]

InCarIn - IntelligentCarInterior [Fraunhofer IOSB]
BMBF project with participation of Fraunhofer IAO and Fraunhofer IOSB for adaptive and context-sensitive adaptation of interaction technology and assistance systems in vehicles (e.g. for the most natural and useful design of human-machine interaction in the vehicle interior between the occupants and the car)

Mixed-Mock-Up Interior [Fraunhofer IAO (German)]
Project for the implementation of ergonomic entrance, seating and lighting concepts in a mixed mock-up

25. Stunde / 25th hour [theverge.com]
Design and evaluation of optimal conditions for concentrated and productive work in the interior of a fully autonomous vehicle by the Fraunhofer IAO

Twinkling Twizy - Social interaction with autonomous vehicles [YouTube (German)]
Presentation of a Fraunhofer IAO demonstrator vehicle for improved human-machine communication

Radar in the fast lane [Fraunhofer FHR]
New hardware concepts for different types of transport

REDAR - Road & Environmental Data Acquisition for virtual test runs Rover [Fraunhofer ITWM]
Creation of 3D environmental data

LiDAR systems [Fraunhofer IPMS]

Dependable AI [Fraunhofer IESE] 

Functional safety, Safety of the intended Functionality (SotiF ISO 21448), innovative safety concepts, and more [Fraunhofer IESE] 

Autonomous Systems [Fraunhofer IESE]

AVEAS [Fraunhofer IOSB, Fraunhofer IVI, Fraunhofer EMI]



Studies and Publications

Highly automated driving on motorways [Fraunhofer Publica (German)]
Study commissioned by BMWI with participation of Fraunhofer IAO

Catenary truck: Potentials and challenges for use in Germany [Fraunhofer Publica (German)]

Substudy fuel cell trucks: critical development barriers, research needs and market potential [Fraunhofer Publica (German)]