Digitalisation research

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Digitalisation is key for DLR's major research areas: aeronautics, space, energy, transport and the cross-sectoral area of security. With the adoption of the 2030 Strategy, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has expanded its portfolio with the new cross-sectoral area of digitalisation. In particular, DLR is making significant contributions in the following areas: digitalisation in the economy, big and smart data/data science, cyber security and intelligent mobility.

With regard to digitalisation in the economy, current projects relate to Internet communication and broadband supply via laser-assisted data transfer, satellites and high-altitude platforms; as well as networked industrial production; the further development of reliable, highly-sensitive, intelligent machines for human-robot cooperation; and the introduction of numerical simulation into the verification process.

The amount of data being generated worldwide in science, the economy and in private households is growing incessantly. Retrieving the knowledge implicit in the data also represents a major challenge today, both from a scientific and technological standpoint and from a social perspective. To contribute solutions to this challenge, DLR is specifically implementing and developing its competencies in the fundamental research of big data, the development of algorithms and software methodology.

Data and processes have to be protected against manipulation and theft. In this age of digitalisation, the overall cyber security strategy for Germany also demands that companies protect their expertise against unauthorised access. Appropriate technical and organisational measures for this include easier-to-use technologies and secure, tested products and infrastructures. Using the available expertise, DLR can build on its position as an indispensable partner for the development of technologies for safeguarding data, systems and critical infrastructures.

The transport of the future will be automated, networked and mostly electric, urbanisation will advance and towns and cities will become 'smart'. All modes of transport will move in a shared space, whether automated or manual, and regardless of whether on the road or by rail, in the air or on the water. The transport system needs to function securely, robustly and efficiently under all circumstances.

Producing energy from renewable sources regardless of the weather requires complex control of the energy system to guarantee efficient and reliable energy supply at all times. Energy storage units, the power grid and consumption itself need to be intelligently harmonised. Rapid analysis of extensive, heterogeneous datasets from Earth observation, weather forecasts and local mapping of energy sources and grid topologies is essential for this highly complex and dynamic real-time system.

DLR will develop its expertise in the integrated development of innovative technologies, concepts and implementation options for a resilient, cross-sectoral, automated, cooperative transport system. A digital atlas with three-dimensional modelling is being developed that will logically link road and rail networks, including their infrastructures and environments for analysing and assessing products, as well as transport and urban planning activities.

The subject of digitalisation currently comprises eight projects, which are divided into the following categories:

Digitalisation in the economy

  • Global connectivity - global broadband access via satellite and high-altitude platforms using laser-assisted optical data transfer
  • Factory of the future - intelligent robotics for digitalised production processes
  • Simulation-based certification - simulation processes as a basis for technical approval/authorisation

Big and smart data/data science

  • Big data platform - systematic analysis of large data sets from multiple sources
  • Condition monitoring for safety-relevant structures - novel diagnostics for the secure operation of complex structures

Cyber security

  • Cyber security for autonomous and networked systems - in the areas of aeronautics and aerospace as well as traffic on the ground

Intelligent mobility

  • Transport 5.0 - automated and networked transport systems
  • Digital atlas - geodatabase for the transport area of the future

Two additional projects in the area of Energy storage/Energy efficiency are being developed:

  • Future fuels - fuels of the future, high-capacity chemical storage
  • GigaStore - low-cost power and heat storage for the energy and transport system of the future

Last modified:
16/11/2017 09:20:37