DLR research highlights in 2015

  • BIROS, a microsatellite capable of detecting forest fires from space, will be launched in 2015.
  • The German Aerospace Center (DLR) HALO atmospheric research aircraft will be flying through the Monsoon winds in the summer of 2015, investigating the effect of large-scale airflows on polluted air masses above India.
  • DLR transport researchers will be observing the effect that new developments have on mobility in cities.

These are among the many subjects that DLR researchers in the areas of space, aeronautics, energy, transport and security will be working on in 2015. The theme for research work at DLR in 2015 will continue to be ‘Knowledge for tomorrow’ (‘Wissen für Morgen’). Scientists will be working in interdisciplinary projects and collaborations, from basic research to applications. In addition to the aerospace sector, DLR is also heavily focusing on the areas of energy supply, mobility and security.



From car to rail to car – urban mobility

Munich, Hamburg, Leipzig, Berlin, Cologne – the population of the major cities in Germany is growing. With the rediscovery of the city comes the challenge of creating a compact, low-resource habitat attractive to people. But how will people move around in cities in the future? What requirements will have to be met by the city transport system of tomorrow? Even today, we can see that the mobility habits of city-dwellers are changing. Existing mobility methods are being used more flexibly as a result of the progressive integration of public transport facilities. The increasing use of car sharing facilities is also changing how cars are used in cities. DLR researchers are analysing the motives, patterns and scope of the mobility change. In doing so, they are looking into how car usage is changing in the face of multi-modal use of means of transport. Their results are being used to develop innovative mobility concepts in urban spaces.

Increasing parcel delivery services in the city?

The trend towards e-commerce continues unabated – private households, commercial enterprises and shops are making more and more use of the services of parcel delivery companies. This is having a clear effect on the environment and traffic flow in cities. Against this background, DLR is working on scenarios for developing goods transportation in cities and is focusing on small-scale deliveries. This includes Project KEP City, which was launched in September 2014. Here, transport researchers are analysing the volume of goods being transported by parcel delivery services such as DHL, UPS or TNT, and are calculating the volume of traffic that this generates in the city. The aim is to estimate the effect of political measures such as a congestion charge or packet box services on goods transportation in cities and to offer recommendations for sustainable development..

Surfing the web on a tablet while driving a highly automated car

Surfing the web, chatting, emailing while on the road? Under certain conditions, cars are already capable of driving themselves. But depending on the situation, the driver needs to be able to retake control of the vehicle quickly. For this reason, DLR is working on the next generation car, to understand how the driver and vehicle need to share and transfer the job of driving. Using the example of surfing the web on a tablet, the researchers are investigating how and when a car driving autonomously should hand control over to the driver; for example, if it is approaching a narrow section of roadworks. To do so, the driver will have to stop what he is doing on the tablet and refocus on the driving situation, with a sufficient reserve of time to be able to take control of the driving in an alert, focused and, at the same time, relaxed manner. The first research results for the MobiFAS project are expected in the first half of 2015.


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