Autonomous Cars, Production, and Robotics


This research area covers all kinds of autonomous systems and addresses in particular mobile robotic systems. Special focus lies on the field of traffic & mobility (including cars, trucks, ships, planes, etc.) as well on production technology – one of the strengths of Aachen’s research institutes. Areas of strong professional competence already exist in Faculties 1,4,6,8.
The main goal is to construct systems that can operate autonomously in complex and diverse environments. The research area includes:

  • the construction,
  • the mechatronic design,
  • the computational architectures incl. distributed architectures,
  • the system control and
  • its “intelligent” behavior.

For the latter aspects, concepts of control theory as well as algorithms and concepts from artificial intelligence / machine learning are of importance.
In general research on autonomous systems targets towards adapting the system’s behavior to different situations and uncertain and dynamic environments. Since the prospect of mobile systems is a strong one, autonomous navigation in challenging environments plays an important part in today’s research which results in novel methods and tools for cognition, perception, abstraction, mapping and path planning. The demand to process the data in real-time however makes this task particularly demanding.
The area has a strong link to the field of distributed systems since in general autonomous systems appear in teams, as e.g. in the promising field of car2car or car2infrastructure. Thus, there are strong ties to modern fields like Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Due to the complexity of the field, biologically-inspired computing paradigms as e.g. genetic and evolutionary algorithms serve as models for robot development. In this context, the term of “organic computing” has emerged recently as a challenging vision for future information processing systems. It is based on the insight that we will soon be surrounded by large collections of autonomous systems, which are equipped with sensors and actuators, aware of their environment, communicate freely, and organize themselves in order to perform the actions and services that seem to be required (definition taken from Wikipedia).