High-level experts in public-private partnership ARENA2036 - A research institute for the future of cars Active Research Environment for the Next Generation of Automobiles

  • Sustainable mobility and manufacturing operations of the future
  • Interdisciplinary alliance
  • Supported by federal and state government
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  • June 03, 2014
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press release

     The ARENA2036 project marks the start of a new research partnership.
     Scientists from the University of Stuttgart, independent research institutes,
     and industry are joining forces on a brand new campus to work on ideas for
     the mobility of the future.

Stuttgart – A joint project for the vehicles of the future: on the new ARENA2036 research campus, universities and companies will be working to develop the flexible factory for the car of the future and its new lightweight components. The project aims to develop new and competitive production models by 2036, when the car celebrates its 150th anniversary.

“We are pleased to be taking part in this promising project, in which scientists from a broad range of disciplines are cooperating, often beyond the boundaries of their respective areas of expertise,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management. “In many areas, the mobility of the future cannot be achieved using the means we have today. To make it a reality, experts from all disciplines must come up with new and creative solutions.” ARENA2036 focuses primarily on new fiber composites and flexible manufacturing systems.

To make the factory of the future more flexible, ARENA2036 is researching technologies for new types of robots, for instance. In addition to this, the initiative aims to develop new methods and tools for the planning, configuration, and operation of flexible manufacturing systems. This could be relevant not only in automotive engineering, but also for components in many other industries.

ARENA2036 partners
Apart from the University of Stuttgart and Robert Bosch GmbH, the Deutsche Institute für Textil- und Faserforschung Denkendorf (DITF), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Fraunhofer Institute (FhG), BASF SE, and Daimler AG are taking part in the ARENA2036 project. The project is the result of a competition organized by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), over the course of which ten public-private partnerships were selected. Thanks to the judges' positive decision, many new projects will receive funding over the initial five-year project phase. Over a maximum period of 15 years, each selected research campus will receive funding of up to two million euros per year.

Opportunities for Germany as an industrial location
“The automotive industry has always been one of the major drivers of German innovation,” Denner says. “The foundations for many technical applications were laid here. Their effect extends to many other sectors and industries. By developing promising materials systems, manufacturing processes, and design principles, we are opening up new and major opportunities for Germany as an industrial and research location. We must seize these opportunities – and ARENA2036 is helping us do so.”

The greatest possible flexibility
At present, most automakers manufacture one single product per assembly line. Such factories are generally not very flexible, and changing lines to accommodate different products is time-consuming and expensive. Flexible manufacturing offers a solution to this problem: it marks a move away from line assembly in favor of manufacturing concepts that can be implemented within days rather than months, and this at a low cost. This principle can also be applied to the production of components. A number of current trends make this flexibility necessary. One of them is the growing need to customize mass production. For instance, customers are increasingly demanding vehicles with different powertrain systems, such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas, battery, hybrid, or fuel-cell systems.

Moreover, in the factory of the future, new designs and materials, such as functionally integrated lightweight components, will play a major role. With their specific design and precisely controllable manufacturing process, lightweight fiber composites make it possible to integrate a broad range of functions into individual components. The broad spectrum ranges from sound and heat insulation and thermal, sensory, or electrical functions, to liquid or energy storage.

Three areas of research
ARENA 2036 addresses three areas of research. The first focuses mainly on new lightweight materials. The main topic of research in the second area is the simulation of these lightweight materials using digital models and virtual prototypes. The third area of research addresses the design of a flexible research factory for the large-scale series production of vehicles and components. Bosch associates are involved in all three areas.

Creative environment
“Tens of thousands of engineers from academia and industry in the Stuttgart region have played a part in pushing research and development in automotive engineering forward. With multifunctional fiber composite plastics and flexible production, two important trends have emerged that require further thought and interdisciplinary cooperation. The knowledge-sharing on the research campus ensures better coordination between basic research and pre-competitive, application-oriented research. This result is a creative environment for new ideas and their rapid transfer to industry,” says Kerstin Mayr. Mayr, who works for the Bosch corporate research sector, supervises the ARENA2036 topic for Bosch.

A completely new building – courtesy of the state
The research initiative began its activities on July 1, 2013, at a temporary site. In 2017, the project will be moving to its own large building, constructed especially on the University of Stuttgart's Vaihingen campus. Covering a total surface area of some 7,000 square meters, the building will house offices, laboratories, and production areas. Up to 160 new jobs will be created there, and the total investment for the new building amounts to some 30 million euros. This research factory is being built by the state of Baden-Württemberg, which will be providing the facility to the ARENA2036 research campus free of charge, except for running costs. The project was officially established as an association in May.

The newly established association now counts several companies as its members, including Bär Automation, Faro, and Festo. New partners are always welcome. The participating companies and research institutes will be considered members and expected to pay membership fees.

ARENA2036 website:
BMBF information on ARENA2036:
University of Stuttgart on ARENA2036:
Institute for Control Engineering of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Facilities on ARENA2036:
Image film on ARENA2036 on YouTube:

Kerstin Mayr,
phone:+49 711 811-34753

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at and,

PI8586 - June 03, 2014

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