Environmentally friendly, safe, comfortable and affordable; that's how it should be. DLR transport researchers investigate the car of the future. approaches.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
The tunnel simulation facility at DLR Göttingen
The tunnel simulation facility at DLR Göttingen is the only one of its kind in the world. Before they enter the experimental Plexiglas tunnel, a 'catapult' can accelerate the model trains to speeds of up to 400 kilometres per hour on the 60-metre-long test track.
RCAS technology from DLR should help avoiding train collisions
In this RCAS (Railway Collision Avoidance System) research project, scientists from three DLR Institutes of Communications and Navigation, Transportation Systems, and Robotics and Mechatronics have developed a complete system, requiring no infrastructure, for the prevention of train collisions. DLR's cooperation partner is Bayerische Oberlandbahn. This Bavarian rail operator provided one of its Integral regional trains as a test vehicle for the RCAS system (Photo).
Highly automated: One the touch of a button is enough
With the touch of a button, the driver can select the level of automation. Road traffic accidents are often the result of errors made by inattentive, overstressed or tired drivers. The objective of the EU project HAVEit (Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport), in which the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) played an active role, was to minimise the number of this kind of accidents.
Alignment of the cooling device
Sven Erik Pohl aligns the cooling device Engineers at the DLR Institute of Vehicle Concepts (Institut für Fahrzeugkonzepte; FK) in Stuttgart are developing a new power source that can be operated with different fuels, which are combusted under optimum conditions and converted into electrical power. At the institute, ideal conditions are available for trials of this new drive. On the test bench, the individual components can be checked: the combustion chamber, the linear generator and the gas spring with accompanying control electronics. All the components in combination can be tested as a complete system.
The car of the future communicates with traffic infrastructure
In a driving demonstration, the DLR Institute of Transportation Systems, an autonomous vehicle was able take advantage of traffic information, from traffic lights to speed adjustment.
The dynamic driving simulator from DLR
The dynamic driving simulator at the DLR Institute of Transportation Systems in Braunschweig.
Artist's impression of the Next Generation Train
Behind the Next Generation Train lie scientific questions in the areas of aerodynamics, structural dynamics, vehicle dynamics, propulsion, energy management, materials science and lightweight construction. The aim is to develop and gain approval for efficient high-speed train designs with greatly reduced specific energy consumption and improved passenger comfort and noise characteristics.
Recording traffic noise on a stretch of railway track
The traffic noises played back were recorded in residential areas under realistic conditions.
The transport sector is a cornerstone of Germany's industrialised economy. It satisfies individual mobility needs, provides employment and makes up a significant share of the net economic added value. On the other hand, transport has some adverse effects. Noise and exhaust emissions harm the population and the environment and large numbers of people are victims of traffic accidents. From the tense relationship between the demands for mobility and its negative effects, the need arises for an intensive examination of current and future problems in the transport sector. DLR has taken up this challenge.
Every day, 7 500 kilometres of traffic jams obstruct the free flow of traffic on Europe's main roads. At the same time, European rail traffic reaches its limits on 16 000 kilometres of track. Capacity-related bottlenecks and delays are commonplace in air travel. However, congestion is not the only problem: noise and exhaust emissions from motor vehicles impair the quality of life in congested areas and hardly anyone now doubts the negative effect of vehicle emissions on the climate. Additionally, every year, more than 40 000 people are killed in road accidents in Europe alone.
These traffic problems are the result of a noticeable increase in passenger and freight transport over the last few decades. In particular Germany, which is a transit country, sees itself confronted with significantly growing traffic volumes owing to its location in the heart of Europe. The problems that are already affecting all modes of transport will increase with the predicted traffic growth, especially because an expansion of the transport network adequate to meet demand appears unlikely due to economic and ecological constraints. However, fast, reliable, safe and secure transport connections are a necessary prerequisite for facilitating economic growth. At approximately 1 000 billion Euros, the transport sector has a share of over 10% of the gross domestic product of the European Union and provides more than ten million jobs. Added to this is the overall economic importance of transport, which specifically applies to Germany as one of the world's leading export nations.
Mobility without bottlenecks has therefore become a real economic concern for industry. It also addresses the widely varying individual needs that are typical of the way of life in modern societies. There are no signs of radical trend reversals either regarding the development of demand for commercial transport or regarding individual mobility behaviour. According to the researchers from DLR's Transport Business Area, three central challenges arise from the tense relationship between the demands for mobility and the negative effects of mobility: securing mobility for people and goods, protecting the environment and preserving resources, and improving safety and security.
These challenges cannot be met by simply expanding the existing infrastructure or liberalising transport markets. In order to build a sustainable, viable transport system, economic, ecological and societal concerns must be brought into a stable balance. DLR's Transport Business Area provides important contributions to this aim through researching and developing state-of-the-art transport technologies, concepts and strategies. The business area uses its specific transport expertise to systematically access DLR internal know-how in the areas of aeronautics, space and energy for transport applications. This symbiosis, which is unique in Germany, ensures problem-oriented results using innovative and sophisticated technologies. Research efforts are concentrated on the following three programme topics:
DLR's research focuses on next generation cars, commercial vehicles, trains and locomotives, with lower energy consumption, lighter structures, optimised aerodynamics, increased safety, better comfort and less noise. The effectiveness and efficiency of infrastructure utilisation is improved with innovative approaches to managing road and rail traffic as well as airports. DLR’s contributions to traffic management for public mass events and disasters support the police and emergency services. The Transport Business Area is breaking new ground in transport system evaluation by taking an integrated view of transport development and environmental impact.
During the research, DLR scientists and engineers keep concrete applications firmly in sight. A bridge is therefore formed from basic research through future technologies to economically viable innovations. DLR’s Transport Business Area does not work in isolation but seeks strategic cooperation and coordination with outstanding research groups and leading companies in Germany and in other European countries. The business area also incorporates its skills into national and European networks, contributes to developing technology platforms and represents the interests of research institutions in panels and associations. By working closely together with its partners, DLR therefore contributes towards the success of the German and European economy and science in the face of global competition.
Last modified:27/06/2011 14:34:04