Automated delivery vehicle “autoCARGO” arrived at the University of Ulm

23. July 2021

Fully automated, modular vehicles for the mobility of tomorrow. In the UNICARagil lighthouse project, eight universities and their industrial partners want to rethink vehicle concepts. One of the four prototypes has arrived at the University of Ulm: The new type of delivery van “autoCARGO” is to drive through city centers without a driver in the near future.

The future of the automobile reached Ulm University in a truck on Thursday afternoon. At the Institute for Measurement, Control and Microtechnology (MRM), the “autoCARGO” prototype is now being upgraded for automation – from installing the sensor modules and computer equipment to the first test drives. The aim is driverless mobility in the demanding urban environment shared by cars, pedestrians and, for example, cyclists. The Ulm university engineers concentrate on capturing the vehicle’s surroundings and “understanding” the traffic situation. “Of course, the automation concept also includes safety precautions: We have to ensure that the car stops in the event of a malfunction or unexpected situation and that it interacts with the monitoring control room,” explains Dr. Michael Buchholz from MRM, who coordinates the work on vehicle automation in the research project.

Other vehicle concepts in the UNICARagil project are geared towards taxi services (autoTAXI), the use as an inner-city minibus (autoSHUTTLE) and individual mobility (autoELF). All work on the four prototypes with regard to driving functions, safety components, energy management and automation is carried out in parallel by the UNICARagil project partners. “The innovation lies in the modular system concept with continuous self-monitoring of all components. The concept is completely redundant: In this way, failures of individual components are not only recognized during operation, but also compensated for with full or at least only slightly restricted further functionality”, summarizes Professor Klaus Dietmayer, Head of the Institute for Measurement, Control and Microtechnology. The final presentation of all UNICARagil vehicle concepts is planned for 2023. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding UNICARagil with 26 million euros. Under the leadership of RWTH Aachen, the following are involved: TU Braunschweig, TU Darmstadt, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), TU Munich, University of Passau, University of Stuttgart and University of Ulm as well as the following industrial partners: ATLATEC GmbH, flyXdrive GmbH, iMAR Navigation GmbH, IPG Automotive GmbH, Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG, VIRES Simulationstechnologie GmbH, Maxion Wheels Germany Holding GmbH as well as Valeo switches and sensors GmbH.


Additional Information:

Prof. Dr. Klaus Dietmayer, email:

Dr. Michael Buchholz, email:

The UNICARagil team of the MRM in front of the autoCARGO prototype (from left to right): Markus Schön, Dr. Michael Buchholz, Markus Horn and Matti Henning [Photo: Elvira Eberhardt]