Strategic research topics

Intelligent, networked, sustainable

If you want to change the future, you have to break new ground!

As the world's leading institute for applied logistics research, Fraunhofer IML identified and defined a total of eight strategic research topics that are important for today’s logistics in order to successfully master the economical, ecological and social challenges of tomorrow. In these strategic research topics, our scientists are working on central issues of exceptionally high relevance for the future of logistics and supply chain management.

Technologies and their use or research are not an end in themselves, but serve the goal of achieving sustainable growth and development. Therefore, our strategic research topics also reflect the growing importance of an intelligent, network-oriented and sustainable ecosystem in logistics. It is important for us that companies can benefit from practical solutions and innovations that strengthen their competitiveness nationally and internationally.

In an increasingly digital world, collaborative relationships between research and businesses are just as crucial as cooperation or co-petition between the companies themselves. Our strategic research topics also take the following philosophy into account: Alone, each individual can only achieve little.

Discover our strategic research topics

Information systems and digital infrastructure

Today, sovereign data exchange between different players requires both suitable information systems and a secure, digital infrastructure based on European values. That is why open source software is becoming a relevant factor of success.

Autonomous and embedded systems

They are considered "information providers" of digital ecosystems: Autonomous and embedded systems enable the generation and control of data. Be it in the form of IoT devices, mobile robots or in combination with blockchain and smart contracts, they are indispensable for the digitalization of supply chains.

AI in logistics

Predictive maintenance minimizes machine failures, algorithms optimize route planning and capacities, simulations become a learning environment for a multitude of autonomous vehicles: the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) in logistics is almost endless.

Decision support systems and human-machine interaction

Humans are central task managers and important stakeholders in logistics - even in high-tech logistics. New technologies can help them make the smartest decisions, organize their work more efficiently, and prepare for new challenges.

Platform economy

Digital platforms through which data and goods, information and services are shared are the future of logistics. However, for companies to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by digital value creation, they need the right business models and management approaches.

Resource-conserving and low-emission logistics

Reduce emissions and conserve resources: Logistics can make a key contribution to the ecological sustainability of the economic system with new and innovative approaches. At the same time, recirculation of materials is becoming a core task of logistics.

Mobility and supply

Shortage of industrial and storage space, congested roads in metropolitan areas, lack of infrastructure, and poor connectivity in rural areas: Now it is time to ensure economical, ecological and social sustainability with new concepts for mobility and supply that are tailored to space and demand.

Adaptation of logistics systems

The fast pace of existing logistics networks continuously presents companies with new challenges. In the meantime, it is about much more than optimizing individual logistics processes. Methods and technologies for the holistic transformation of organizations are required.