8. October 2021
Intelligent mobility and digitalisation

DLR at the ITS World Congress 2021

Image 1/8, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)


The U-Shift mod­u­lar mo­bil­i­ty con­cept makes ur­ban trans­port of pas­sen­gers and goods more flex­i­ble. The in­ter­change­able su­per­struc­tures en­able the high­ly au­to­mat­ed drive­board to per­form dif­fer­ent tasks.
City-ATM – traffic management in the third dimension
City-ATM – traf­fic man­age­ment in the third di­men­sion
Image 2/8, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

City-ATM – traffic management in the third dimension

In or­der to in­te­grate new traf­fic par­tic­i­pants such as drones or air taxis in­to the mo­bil­i­ty con­cept and man­age their safe op­er­a­tion, DLR is test­ing con­cepts for airspace man­age­ment and traf­fic con­trol in ur­ban ar­eas in the City-ATM (Air Traf­fic Man­age­ment) project us­ing a hex­a­copter spe­cial­ly equipped for this pur­pose.
MovingLab – real data on mobility habits
Mov­ingLab – re­al da­ta on mo­bil­i­ty habits
Image 3/8, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

MovingLab – real data on mobility habits

DLR us­es an app to col­lect da­ta about users and means of trans­port. This makes it pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine peo­ple's mo­bil­i­ty habits or ve­hi­cle us­age pat­terns over an un­in­ter­rupt­ed pe­ri­od of time.
Lower Saxony Test Field – large-scale test site
Low­er Sax­ony Test Field – large-scale test site
Image 4/8, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Lower Saxony Test Field – large-scale test site

280 kilo­me­tres of road are avail­able across the Low­er Sax­ony Test Field for the de­vel­op­ment and test­ing of au­to­mat­ed and net­worked ve­hi­cles. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the in­fras­truc­ture and ve­hi­cles takes place via sen­sor sys­tems and cam­eras in­stalled across the en­tire site.
Test field eMIR – research infrastructure for automated and networked maritime systems
Test field eMIR – re­search in­fras­truc­ture for au­to­mat­ed and net­worked mar­itime sys­tems
Image 5/8, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Test field eMIR – research infrastructure for automated and networked maritime systems

The e-Mar­itime In­te­grat­ed Ref­er­ence Plat­form (eMIR) mar­itime test field is open to in­dus­try and re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions. It en­ables high­ly au­to­mat­ed mar­itime as­sis­tance sys­tems and con­cepts for au­tonomous boats and ships to be re­searched and de­vel­oped – both vir­tu­al­ly as well as un­der re­al con­di­tions.
NGT Cargo – smart and automated goods train of the future
NGT Car­go – smart and au­to­mat­ed goods train of the fu­ture
Image 6/8, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

NGT Cargo – smart and automated goods train of the future

With NGT Car­go, DLR presents a com­pre­hen­sive, fu­tur­is­tic lo­gis­tics con­cept in which rail trans­port takes cen­tre stage.
VITAL – smart, cooperative road junctions for the urban traffic of the future
VI­TAL – smart, co­op­er­a­tive road junc­tions for the ur­ban traf­fic of the fu­ture
Image 7/8, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

VITAL – smart, cooperative road junctions for the urban traffic of the future

Smart, co­op­er­a­tive road in­ter­sec­tions for the ur­ban traf­fic of the fu­ture. Smart traf­fic lights com­mu­ni­cate with cars us­ing their V2X tech­nol­o­gy. Traf­fic lights are con­trolled ac­cord­ing to the in­com­ing in­for­ma­tion about traf­fic, re­sult­ing in re­duced con­ges­tion and pol­lu­tant emis­sions. 
Air2X – rescue mobility for tomorrow: cooperation between helicopters, drones and highly automated vehicles
Air2X – res­cue mo­bil­i­ty for to­mor­row: co­op­er­a­tion be­tween he­li­copters, drones and high­ly au­to­mat­ed ve­hi­cles
Image 8/8, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Air2X – rescue mobility for tomorrow: cooperation between helicopters, drones and highly automated vehicles

In the Air2X project, DLR – to­geth­er with ADAC Luftret­tung, Con­sid­er IT GmbH and the NXP Semi­con­duc­tors – is demon­strat­ing how he­li­copter res­cue mis­sions on mo­tor­ways can be car­ried out safer and faster. The fo­cus here is on com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween he­li­copters, au­to­mat­ed and net­worked ve­hi­cles on the road and drones in the air.
  • The ITS World Congress will bring together the mobility, logistics and IT sectors in Hamburg from 11 to 15 October 2021 on the topics of intelligent mobility and digitalisation.
  • DLR will showcase forward-looking concepts and technologies for networked and automated mobility on the road and rail, as well as in the air and on the water.
  • Included at the DLR stand will be the prototype of the U-Shift vehicle concept as well as exhibits on urban airspace management and studying mobility behaviours using smartphones.
  • In live demonstrations, DLR will present a smart and cooperative road junction and a novel concept designed to improve the safety and speed of rescue operations in which helicopters, drones and networked vehicles communicate with each other.
  • Focus: Aeronautics, transport, intelligent mobility, digitalisation

The ITS World Congress (Intelligent Transport Systems), the biggest industry gathering in the field of intelligent mobility and digitalisation, is coming to Germany in 2021. From 11 to 15 October, experts from the mobility, logistics and IT sectors, trade associations and political representatives will convene in Hamburg. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will provide insights into its ongoing projects in the field of mobility research at its stand (Hall 5, B220). Visitors will be able to see a prototype of the futuristic U-shift vehicle concept, learn more about urban air transport and find out how to study mobility with smartphones. Videos will provide an insight into DLR’s test fields for the automated navigation of roads and shipping routes as well as for future freight transport.

Several live demonstrations by DLR within the Hamburg city area will also show the latest technologies in use. These include an intelligent, coordinated road intersection for future urban transport and the demonstration of a rescue mobility concept that is the first of its kind – a helicopter that communicates with drones and networked vehicles to autonomously establish a safe landing zone. DLR's researchers have also made numerous contributions to the ITS conference programme.

"All of our innovative technologies and projects presented here have one common goal – to bring the mobility of the future one step closer, to make it safer, cleaner and more efficient. As one of the largest transport research institutions in Europe, we are actively shaping this transformation through cutting-edge research and technology transfer to industry," says Karsten Lemmer, the Member of the DLR Executive Board responsible for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure.

The U-Shift vehicle concept prototype – on-the-road modularisation

DLR will present the first drivable prototype of the U-Shift at the ITS World Congress 2021. With applications ranging from on-demand shuttles to flexible parcel distribution centres and mobile shops, the vehicle concept offers almost unlimited possibilities. U-Shift consists of a U-shaped powertrain unit called the driveboard that contains all the technical components and systems and is designed to move autonomously, electrically and quietly. For maximum cost-effectiveness, these operations can take place around the clock. The driveboard is combined with capsule-shaped structures for transporting people and cargo. Concepts such as U-Shift have the potential to make intermodal, networked mobility a reality.

The first U-Shift prototype gives researchers the opportunity to gain experience with this innovative vehicle concept and its many potential applications. The aim is to make tomorrow’s mobility more sustainable, effective and convenient in ways that will give rise to new products, services and business models.

City ATM – airspace management in urban areas

In future, mobility and traffic management in cities will no longer be confined to the roads but will also include airspace used by drones or air taxis. It is important to integrate these new transport users into mobility concepts and manage their safe operation. In the City-ATM (Air Traffic Management) project, DLR is using specially equipped drones to test a density-based management concept for airspace management. With its help, a wide variety of aircraft should be able to operate optimally in challenging urban airspace. DLR researchers are developing operational concepts for uncrewed aerial vehicles and defining requirements and framework conditions for their safe operation in civil airspace. In an upcoming test campaign, the researchers plan to fly several real drones together with approximately 100 virtual drones – drones simulated on a computer – in a complex traffic scenario.

DLR MovingLab – measuring mobility with smartphones

Up-to-date, reliable data are in very high demand in the field of mobility research. Only by studying such data is it possible to make statements about the mobility behaviour of individuals and groups. They form the basis of scientific transport models and forecasts from which transport service providers also benefit. With MovingLab, DLR has developed a special survey and analysis method that opens up new possibilities. It uses something that most people always have with them – mobile devices such as smartphones. The position and motion sensors built into a smartphone allow the location of a person to be determined several times per minute. MovingLab creates acceleration profiles by looking at changes in position. These profiles correspond to the use of different means of transport. Surveys can also be carried out using the MovingLab app for purposes such as recording socio-demographic characteristics, general usage of or attitudes towards different means of transport and specific information on individual routes.

VITAL live demonstration – smart, cooperative road junctions

In future, road junctions will be much more capable than they are today, with new features that control traffic in a safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly way. Communication between vehicles and infrastructure as well as intelligent concepts for controlling traffic lights will play important roles. Greater consideration will also be given to pedestrians and cyclists.

DLR will demonstrate this throughout the days of 12 to 14 October in the immediate vicinity of the ITS World Congress in Hamburg city centre (registration required). For the live demonstration, DLR and partners have equipped an intersection (An der Verbindungsbahn/Rentzelstraße) on the Test Track for Automated and Connected Driving (TAVF) with the technologies developed in the VITAL project. These include, among other things, a new approach to traffic-dependent traffic light control in which data from vehicle to infrastructure communication (V2X) is taken into account in the decision-making process. Innovative sensor technology also evaluates camera images to determine current traffic conditions. In this way, all road users and their directions of movement are quickly and reliably recorded. This data is also transferred to the traffic light control system and is used to optimise it.

Air2X live demonstration – cooperation between helicopters, drones and networked vehicles makes rescue missions faster and safer

Communication between individual vehicles and between vehicles and infrastructure is key to the success of future automated and networked mobility systems. DLR is already going one step further by integrating the potential presence of aircraft at ground level. In the Air2X project, DLR, ADAC Luftrettung, NXP Semiconductors Germany and Consider IT have developed a concept for improving the speed and safety of helicopter rescue missions on motorways and regional roads. The project partners will demonstrate the concept to congress attendees and media representatives live at 11:00 on 13 October 2021 at the Cruise Terminal in Hamburg-Finkenwerder (registration required).

The focus will be on communication between helicopters, networked vehicles and drones. The communication technology used employs the ITS-G5 radio standard used in networked vehicles. Using a compact radio transmitter on board the helicopter, the crew first sends a signal to drones in the vicinity to clear the airspace for the rescue operation. It then informs automated and networked vehicles in the immediate vicinity of the accident of the planned landing site. The networked vehicles slow down, stop and form a barrier for all following vehicles. This creates a safe landing site for the rescue helicopter, allowing the crew to act independently of rescue forces on the ground and more quickly reach any casualties. Safety is also improved for the rescue personnel in the air and on the ground, as well as for third parties.

Congress participants can register for the live demonstrations via the ITS World Congress app in the App Store or Google Play. Media can register via the DLR Press Department.

  • Denise Nüssle
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)

    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Telephone: +49 711 6862-8086
    Fax: +49 711 6862-636
    Pfaffenwaldring 38-40
    70569 Stuttgart


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