Only a few weeks after the Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer handed over the notification of funding for the large-scale »Silicon Economy Logistics Ecosystem« research project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML got started with their operational work: at the end of September, the managing directors of the institute, Prof. Michael ten Hompel and Prof. Michael Henke, welcomed representatives of the Federal Office of Administration (BVA), including the specialist Jürgen Dannen who is responsible for the project, to an initial exchange on site in Dortmund.

As the granting authority, the Federal Office of Administration (BVA), headquartered in Aurich, organizes and manages a wide range of funding programs within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The »Silicon Economy Logistics Ecosystem« project is funded by BMVI with 25 million Euro. Fraunhofer IML will help a decentral and open platform economy in Germany and Europe to achieve a breakthrough with this alternative to Silicon Valley. A tour of the institute the BAV delegation gain an impression of the highly-modern equipment of the affiliated research halls and the innovation potential of the scientific research. The presentation of a biointelligent swarm of drones as well as the »LoadRunner« autonomous high-speed vehicles in particular, provided the BAV representatives with a good initial insight into possible applications in the »Silicon Economy«.

Solidarity between science and industry

The participants agreed that solidarity between science and industry is of great importance for the success of the new platform economy. Innovative developments by scientists must be available for companies as quickly as possible. For the Silicon Economy, the »No development without application« principle applies from the very beginning, ten Hompel, managing director of the Fraunhofer IML, once again made it clear: »We invite all interested companies to contribute their specific requirements to our work. For, only in cooperation with industry can we set the course for an open and decentral platform economy that will allow companies of any size to access the business models of the future.«

A community with various participation opportunities for companies is currently being set up in the project. Renowned companies have already been enlisted as partners for the first agile development projects.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is funding the project over a period of three years with around 25 million Euro. Project partners are Fraunhofer IML, the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST and TU Dortmund University.