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Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft »Manufacturers, Suppliers, Suppliers, Service Providers – The automotive industry is undergoing a profound transformation,« explains Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, on the occasion of this year’s IAA. “While technical innovations have always been important to this sector of the economy, the ability to innovate and change is more important than ever to the future of this industry, which is so strategically important for Germany and Europe. This concerns solutions for the product, the production processes, but also new services and business models in the mobility sector. Here, Fraunhofer as an established partner with forward-looking solutions is making a significant contribution. “The joint booth of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with four institutes from different technological disciplines and the two Fraunhofer alliances autoMOBILproduktion and Verkehr shows the high status of the automotive industry at Europe’s largest application-oriented research society current topics such as value networks and fuel cell vehicles. Special exhibits also highlight solutions to specific challenges in optimizing the value chain. The decisive added value is created by new industry-oriented solutions with a focus on cost-effectiveness, sustainability and digitization.Efficient simulation and analysis methodsNovel simulation and analysis methods of the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP enable the calculation of body noise during actual driving. This allows the vehicle acoustics to be specifically influenced and economically optimized before the start of production.Another example of a practical application of simulation methods is the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Frequency Physics and Radar Technology FHR with the radar target simulator. This enables control of the operability of next generation automotive radar sensors and, in contrast to conventional radar target simulators, can fully simulate critical traffic scenarios. In addition, new algorithms allow adaptive signal processing, which can learn from experience. Their use revolutionises modern driver assistance systems and paves the way for autonomous driving.New economical production processesThe next step is in car body construction. The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU presents new developments for the cost-effective and resource-efficient body construction of the future. Exemplarily presented in the technology platform »Silberhummel«, the flexible forming and joining technologies prove that a vehicle can now be economically produced in small quantities – down to the number of units. With new production processes even seemingly mature automotive parts can be significantly improved – as well Conventional brake discs, which generate fine dust through high wear and pollute the environment. A new coating process by the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT significantly reduces these disadvantages. With the use of extreme high-speed laser cladding (EHLA), wear and corrosion protection layers can be quickly and economically applied to brake discs. Potential for optimization can sometimes only be found at second glance and are then all the more effective. An example of this are the batteries for electric cars. Although their increased capacities make increasingly longer distances possible, the range varies, above all, at low ambient temperatures. The Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF has now developed a thermally storable traction battery that shields the heat with a novel fiber composite sandwich battery housing and thus reduces range fluctuations. In order to further improve the range of electric cars, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has developed a car solar roof with highly efficient solar cells. The cells are invisibly integrated into the preformed solar roof and provide electricity for about 10 km additional range in an average electric car on a sunny day. This application shows: Even with the structural integration of new technologies in a vehicle, an efficiency gain in the value-added process is possible. This is especially true for the hitherto complex installation of a classic wiring harness. This is no longer necessary in the future. Thanks to the novel coating technology of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, a transfer of the electronic functions is taken over by tracks and sensors, which are applied to components using a laser. The exact location of the vehicle environment is mandatory for autonomous driving, radar is one of the main technologies. But where is the ideal installation location and how do the installed materials influence the performance of the radar? Fraunhofer FHR also answers these questions and thus optimizes the installation design. Digital applications ensure the driving experience Finally, Fraunhofer developments also support the driver in order to make the best possible use of his automobile. So in the question of how the fuel consumption is dependent on the driving situation. For this it is necessary to transfer standard information to an individual driving profile. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM has developed technologies and apps for this purpose. Instead of general statements, for example to reduce air resistance by up to ten percent, qualified values ​​are given, such as: “You save three euros per 100 km on your personal routes.” Even with a lack of the vehicle, new digital solutions can be useful to the driver – for example, when analyzing whether a component of his car is defective. The development of smart augmented reality applications by the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD promises to be a quick answer. This makes it possible to see virtually in the workshop whether and what needs to be looked at more closely. An economical repair and good customer service become so possible. So the potential of accompanying value creation in the life of the car ends as productively as it started.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure need be perfect.

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