Safety-Critical Data Infrastructures

More than encryption - Data and information quality as well as foundations for secure and distributed data infrastructures; methods and technologies of IT security and data encryption as well as privacy-preserving or privacy-enhancing technologies (PET). Prerequisites for safe and secure data exchange and robust AI applications in industry and research.

The use of high-value and sensitive data is becoming increasingly important in both science and industry - and so is the need to protect these data sets. For AI-based systems in particular, it is essential that the very high security requirements are met.

Our aim is to enable a technological environment, based on safe and standard-compliant AI, in which data can be used in a conscious and controlled way, and in which a wide range of stakeholders can work together in a spirit of trust.

The department focusses on two core areas in the research field of "Security-critical data". One focus is on the development of intelligent, distributed infrastructures that ensure the secure and reliable exchange of data and services. In addition, methods and technologies are provided to enable the trustworthy use and secure exchange of data in complex environments.

This includes analysing the following issues:

  • How can data be efficiently shared and used for different services in distributed systems?
  • How to ensure that data owners retain sovereignty over their data?
  • How can databases be efficiently secured to detect and prevent intentional and unintentional manipulation?
  • How can the quality of data be determined?
  • How do different data qualities affect processing in AI systems?
  • How can sensitive data be securely processed in third-party systems without risking disclosure of the specific data content?

The department investigates the above aspects with regard to possible impacts and interactions on and in AI systems, but also focuses on the consideration of classical IT systems.

In particular, we focus on mobility related to road, rail and water, as well as on autonomous mobility and logistics facilitation, and contribute to improving cyber-security in open data and service ecosystems and AI. In addition to these specific application areas, our research covers a wide range of other areas.

Specific research contributions to security-critical data infrastructures can be found in the Gaia-X 4 Future Mobility and Catena-X initiatives, among others, as well as in other projects of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. Here, secure and distributed infrastructures are being created with a variety of future-oriented technologies, which will be used to develop new business models based on digital, AI-based products. The flexibility of the intelligent data environments being developed will enable a wide range of organisations to develop and operate robust and secure AI applications.

Through prototypes, demonstrators and toolboxes, we make the results of our research available to clients and interested parties.

Projects of the Safety Critical Data Infrastructures Department


Dr. Michael Karl

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute for AI Safety and Security
Safety-Critical Data Infrastructures
Rathausallee 12, 53757 Sankt Augustin

Karoline Bischof

Consultant Public Relations
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute for AI Safety and Security
Business Development and Strategy
Rathausallee 12, 53757 Sankt Augustin