Annual Report 2019/20

Curiosity helps shape tomorrow’s world

“I have no special talent,” wrote Albert Einstein to his biographers in 1952. “I am only passionately curious.” He was, of course, being modest. That said, he also expressed a simple truth: the urge to ask questions and to seek answers is what creates the quantum leaps that vault the seemingly insurmountable boundaries of scientific knowledge. Curiosity is what makes progress possible.

We, too, know this insatiable curiosity. It drives not only our efforts but also those of our partners and customers, helping to seed new collaborative projects in the field of applied research. It is what makes us ask questions, take on board different perceptions, weave together a multitude of perspectives and domains of knowledge – including what might seem quirky or unusual – and, on this basis, come up with new solutions. We need all of these approaches, because business, science and politics are now facing huge challenges – not least, the question of how best to engineer a use of new technology that is in symbiosis with the human workforce.

Curiosity is the leitmotif that runs through daily scientific practice at Fraunhofer IAO:

  • Firstly, it characterizes our mission: our constant quest is to discover what technology can do to generate tangible value.
  • Secondly, we are curious about the world of tomorrow. Together with our customers, we develop visions of the future that show where our society as a whole is heading.
  • Thirdly, and most importantly, our curiosity is always clearly focused on people themselves. In the context of human-machine interaction, this means that our research approach is always decidedly anthropocentric.

For all these reasons, we have placed curiosity at the heart of this year’s Annual Report. Just as every section of this report and each illustrative example is preceded by a question – so too is each of our projects and research collaborations. It is what drives us to get down to work.

Annual reports for download

The Annual Report provides an insight into our projects, research topics, publications, and objectives as well as our working methods and the people behind them.


Annual Report 2019/20

Are you curious about the future? Together with us, you can ask the right questions and find out more from our project reports about tomorrow’s solutions.

Highlights 2019

From the inauguration of our new facility in Heilbronn to a visit to Silicon Valley, the year had plenty to offer – here you can find an overview of the highlights.



Highlights from over 95 events – from the Future Forum 2020 to the Pop-up Lab BW and the Esslingen forum.


Advanced Systems Engineering

This research program investigates how companies can react faster and more flexibly to market needs with new products and solutions.



Fraunhofer researchers presented the project “FutureWork30” at a conference in Silicon Valley to develop a strong transatlantic network.


2019 Science Year: Artificial Intelligence

The uses of AI raise many questions, to which Fraunhofer IAO responded with a multitude of projects, publications, events and illustrative examples.


Guests from around the world

Scientific and political delegations from a host of countries visited Fraunhofer IAO in order to discuss all the latest research trends.


Fraunhofer Group for Innovation Research

Member institutes pool their infrastructure, methods and approaches in the field of innovation research.



There were three new launches to celebrate: the Research and Innovation Center for Cognitive Service Systems (KODIS) in Heilbronn, an AI Innovation Center and the Mobile Plug-in Lab.

Peer-reviewed publications

Latest studies (2019)