IoT and Embedded Systems

We refer to embedded systems as systems based on small computers that execute autonomous and independent outputs. In the Internet of Things (IoT), these are, for example, the monitoring of urban processes, such as the movement of assets, the monitoring of load carriers with regard to shock, temperature, light exposure, humidity or temperature, or the monitoring of supply and fill levels of containers using image and non-image sensor technology. 

The added value lies in the energy and cost efficiency of the embedded systems. On the one hand, the latest semiconductor technologies in both processor technology and sensor technology allow the development of devices that function for up to 10 years without requiring maintenance. On the other hand, production costs of just a few euros mean that sensor technology can be used across the board for even the simplest processes. 

However, embedded systems are not only available as stand-alone solutions but can also be part of more complex systems such as freely navigating transport robots or drones. 

These technologies are being developed as part of both industrial and research projects for various areas of logistics. Thus, the development does not end with the commissioning and handover of the hardware in the so-called Proof of Concept (PoC) and the support up to the pre-production and series production of our project partners. It extends to the implementation of new processes such as blockchain-based smart contracting for pay-per-use services, for example. In this way, simple processes, whose administrative effort often exceeds the pay-off of the service, can be handled securely, autonomously, and completely traceable at any time - so-called micropayments. 

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Together with Rhenus, Fraunhofer IML has founded an Enterprise Lab for smart container management. The focus here is on the use of narrow-band Internet of Things technologies. The goal of the lab is the cost-effective and long-lasting installation of central control and detection technologies in the logistics sector.

IoT Service Button

Together with Telekom, Fraunhofer IML opened the »Telekom Open IoT Labs«. In the development center, scientists and experts are jointly researching Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in order to bring them to market maturity after a test phase. The aim is to use the technologies to optimize processes in the manufacturing, logistics and aviation industries.


In close cooperation with Debrunner Acifer AG, Fraunhofer IML developed the »bws®label«. This electronic and energy-autonomous label is equipped with a bistable display. It enables a reduction of procurement costs and an efficient design of the ordering processes.


Silicon Economy

The Silicon Economy is a project of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML, supported by the German logistics industry. Together, we are developing an open-source infrastructure for the platform economy of the future.

Blockchain Device

With the »Blockchain Device«, Dortmund scientists present a pioneering prototype for monitoring temperature-sensitive goods such as food, medicines or vaccines along global supply chains. It is the first device development of the European Blockchain Institute and the prototype of a series of blockchain-based developments made in NRW.


The autonomous transport vehicle dovetails flows of goods, information and financial transactions, achieving speeds of up to 10 m/s. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it can independently accept orders, negotiate and organize itself in a swarm. 



By using high-resolution infrared cameras, several hundred objects can be detected and tracked in real time with sub-millimeter accuracy.