Impulses for knowledge


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In a few years' time, we will find using self-driving cars no more remarkable than we do using buses, trains or cars today.  But as soon as autonomous driving becomes a part of our lives, the ways in which this technology functions will be taken for granted and disappear into the background of everyday life. The movement from hype to background is something that many technologies have in common. Innovations in mobility have proven to be particularly noteworthy because they bring about profound changes in the built environment.  What scenarios can we expect to see?  Which developments in European countries will be supported or hindered by autonomous driving?

The Daimler and Benz Foundation is sponsoring the AVENUE21 project, an interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Vienna, so that the question of how countries and urban societies can develop through autonomous driving and vice versa can be examined.  This approach has the definite advantage that it employs concrete local conditions as its basis. The research can assume that societal sizes will remain relatively stable and observe settlement structures which will continue to represent the given structural framework for a long time to come.  Additionally, pioneering regions in which autonomous driving is already intensively supported will be observed throughout the duration of the project.

Under the umbrella of the "future.lab", founded in 2013 at the Department of Architecture and Future Planning, experts in architectural theory, regional planning, urban development, sociology and transport system development are working together to create a differentiated picture of autonomous transport in the context of select European cities.  Discussion – with the broader public as well – is an essential part of the project. 

Senior scientists:

  • Ian Banerjee
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Berger
  • Prof. Dr. Jens S. Dangschat
  • Alexander Diem
  • Dr. Mathias Mitteregger (Coordinator)
  • Prof. Rudolf Scheuvens


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Daimler and Benz Foundation

Openness and curiosity are essential prerequisites for discovery. In order to intensify the knowledge-generation process, the Daimler and Benz Foundation works with targeted stimuli. Using its €3 million yearly operating budget, the Foundation is able to provide sizable resources for international research. Its endowment of €125 million makes the Daimler and Benz Foundation one of the largest, actively-operating foundations in Germany.

The Daimler and Benz Foundation is guided by clear principles. Its core values include supporting young researchers, encouraging interdisciplinary cooperation, and promoting research in a wide-range of fields. The Daimler and Benz Foundation has created a forum where leaders in the natural and social sciences can present and discuss their ideas. This exchange brings unconventional associations and new ideas to light: The result is knowledge with long-term benefits for us all.