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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Ladenburger Kollegs

A Ladenburg Research Cluster represents one of the Foundation's primary research areas, in which academics from various disciplines as well as experts in the field work together.  In an exploratory phase, the provisional topic is examined carefully to determine whether it can be researched effectively in an interdisciplinary setting with the resources the Foundation has available.  As soon as a research cluster has been organized, a research proposal is developed which allows for participants to operate more or less autonomously.  At regularly scheduled meetings, the participating academics review the progress of the research and coordinate the individual projects which comprise the project.  Most research projects last three to five years, at which point the results are made public.