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Competence Center

Autonomous Driving


The autonomously driving car is currently being discussed intensively and, very often in combination with electro mobility, seen by many as the future of individual transport. To achieve this vision, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies is inevitable. Consequently, DFKI has a whole range of activities in which AI technologies for autonomous vehicles are being investigated and enhanced.

The Competence Center for Autonomous Driving (CCAD) bundles all DFKI research activities in this area, further expanding its technological expertise. The competence center defines and coordinates public and industrial research projects and is a central communication platform for employees as well as a contact point for external contacts in the field of autonomous driving.

The automotive market is facing the biggest change since the invention of the automobile. The expectations of the media and the public regarding autonomous vehicles are very high. In addition to an increase in travel comfort and time for productivity or entertainment, much like we are used to it from rail travel, autonomous vehicles promise above all a reduction of traffic accidents. Despite significant improvements in the passive and active safety of modern cars, more than one million traffic fatalities per year are still counted worldwide today. Since it is proven that the (human) driver is responsible for most of these accidents, it seems reasonable to assume that autonomous mobility can save lives. In addition, the technology promises to improve traffic efficiency, i. a reduction of congestion and thus both an ecological and an economic advantage.

The role of the vehicle as part of more complex business models will become increasingly important in the future. Mobility services such as Uber are only profitable in the long term if the vehicles manage without a driver. Google (Waymo) is also investing in autonomous vehicles, "so that millions of Americans can spend an average of extra 1.5 hours a day online."

In order for German as well as European providers to remain globally competitive and to be able to innovate purposefully, they need new partners and politically clear framework conditions. Although Germany holds more than 50% of the worldwide patents on autonomous driving, it shows shortcomings in its practical implementation compared to other countries.

In tackling the challenges associated with the advancement of technology, as well as the verification (acceptance) of the same, the field of artificial intelligence plays a key role. Above all, machine learning, which enables the vehicle to perceive its surroundings, plays an essential role. The corresponding models are trained off-board (outside the vehicle) on the basis of huge amounts of data (big data) with special procedures (deep learning). In addition, training and test drives in virtual environments (synthetic data) are essential for the vehicle to be prepared for infrequent events.

Head: Dr.-Ing. Christian Müller


German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) GmbH
Stuhlsatzenhausweg 3
Campus D3 2
D-66123 Saarbruecken

Phone:  +49 6 81 / 8 57 75 - 4823
eMail: Christian.Mueller@dfki.de