Mobility and Innovation Systems

Looking at the big picture and actively shaping tomorrow’s transformation processes and innovation systems

How will innovations arise in the future? Increasingly shorter development cycles, many different technological opportunities and entirely new forms of teamwork are changing workplace processes of innovation. They will also affect market conditions and customer behavior in the long term.

In the scope of diverse research projects, scientists on Mobility and Innovation Systems teams work on solutions and methods for conceiving, designing and introducing product, process and service innovations. These interdisciplinary project teams always pursue a holistic approach that is compatible with technology, people and the environment. Research pursuits emphasize close cooperation between the domains of mobility, energy, information technology and communications technology.

To ensure that we translate theory into practice, we test our approaches on our own fleet of electric vehicles, in our smart microgrid living lab or in our in-house mobility innovation lab, which is a prototyping facility as well as a creativity space for ideation and expert workshops.

Some current projects include putting together comprehensive mobility and energy concepts, adding electric vehicles to fleets, identifying and assessing the service potential of automated driving, and analyzing (mobility) data to craft new business models. In joint cross-sector projects, our Fraunhofer IAO researchers identify and harness technological potential that can help market players gain or even sharpen their competitive edge.

Our key areas of research:

  • Trend research and big-data analyses for the development of strategic and business models
  • Identification and evaluation of technological and market developments
  • Development of mobility concepts and guiding principles for mobility
  • Assessment and conceptual formulation of business and operation models as well as mobility services
  • Planning and dimensioning of integrated energy solutions and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles
  • Ideation and prototyping of innovative technologies for the vehicles of tomorrow
  • Scientific guidance on transformation processes
  • Development of cooperative formats for research, participation and workshops
  • Research on user acceptance of mobility innovations 

Projects Selection

Cooperative mobility concepts in rural areas

Rural areas in particular are facing major challenges with regard to the change in mobility and changing usage patterns. For the attractive design of public transport services and the provision of a demand-oriented charging infrastructure, tailor-made solutions are required in sparsely populated regions. The project ideas include concepts from car sharing platforms to a citizens' shop network, citizens' buses for young and old, and mobility hubs at public transport stations. All concepts are characterized by new approaches to cooperation and comprehensive and active citizen participation. 

Charging and tank infrastructure of the future

In order to counteract the high level of emissions both in cities and in long-distance traffic, the players in commercial transport are also increasingly called upon to use new forms of mobility. Battery-powered electric vehicles and vehicles with hydrogen technology are currently the most frequently discussed alternatives for locally low-emission freight transport.

Service Center Mass-Personalization

To individualize products on request and according to the needs of the clientele in such a way that they can be produced in the quantity of 1 at the cost of mass production sounds paradoxical. But this is exactly the goal of the Mass Personalization service center


The goal is to develop a service for standardization and certification of MaaS components for cities to reach the providers of such components. By creating a standardized method for evaluating mobility innovations based on various thematic parameters that take into account not only the challenges of cities but also those of mobility providers (including cities), they will be forced to change their approach to designing their systems and business models. The project provides a guide and a structured process to deliver mobility services that are intended for the community rather than for individuals. This will not only simplify the design of MaaS for cities, but also provide a mobility system that is more sustainable and responsive to demand.

Morphoa: More photonics for start-ups and SMEs

Photonics is a cross-sectional technology for key topics such as autonomous driving, smart home or robotics. Completely new, creative impulses can be released by means of open innovation approaches. In the "BaKaRoS" project, research has already been conducted into how to enable non-technical experts to develop new ideas for the application of light together with professional industrial developers on the basis of a modular system. The follow-up project "Morphoa" now aims to support smaller companies and start-ups in the application and integration of optical technologies. 

New Mobility Academy: Practice-oriented qualification initiative

The ongoing electrification and digitalization of vehicles and mobility in general are fundamentally changing the automotive industry. This is why we are offering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) an important opportunity for qualification with the New Mobility Academy on behalf of e-mobil BW. This applies not only to the large vehicle manufacturers, but especially to SMEs and smaller suppliers who have to assert themselves on the market.

FlexCAR: Vehicle platform for the mobility of the future

An open development platform for modular vehicles

The Mobility and Innovation Systems Research Unit is organized in the following teams:


Mobility Transformation

The Mobility Transformation team studies digital transformation in the automotive industry. By leveraging years of experience in this sector as well as modern methods of technology and innovation management, this team will contribute to the design of tomorrow’s sustainable vehicles for years to come. This team regularly relies on the mobility innovation lab, which serves as a creative space for ideation and expert workshops as well as a prototyping facility enabling work on innovative formats.


Mobility Ecosystems

The Mobility Ecosystems team not only assists companies and municipalities in actively shaping their transition to future mobility, but also in harnessing the innovative power behind a digitalized mobility ecosystem. Our work on projects begins in labs that we ourselves designed and set up. To name just one example: our smart microgrid demonstrator, which includes a charging infrastructure and a fleet of electric vehicles.


Innovation Design

This interdisciplinary team looks at smart-data approaches to develop solutions that empower companies and organizations to strategically identify, evaluate and implement new technologies or fields of application. In addition, team members help organizations design and implement effective, long-term management of technologies and innovations.