The SAFIR network partnership is mainly focused on THI – a university of applied science with a strong research profile as well as proven expertise in the HRK research area of vehicle and road safety – and also specialised SMEs and suppliers in the field of vehicle safety. In order to ensure that the applications created are turned into products, leading major companies in the region have been integrated into the network. This interdisciplinary connection between the partners makes it possible to integrate specific expertise into the various product phases, ensuring the entire product lifecycle is covered.
The city of Ingolstadt is a member of the European Metropolitan Region of Munich (EMM), with which the SAFIR partnership is aligned. The EMM is one of the world's leading automotive locations with a network consisting of Audi and BMW, automotive suppliers, engineering service providers, and also a range of research and development facilities with an automotive focus. The decision taken by the German Council of Science and Humanities in 2010 to establish CARISSMA research facility at THI as the nationwide, scientific control centre for integral vehicle safety laid the foundations for the concentration of vehicle safety research in the region. All in all, therefore, the region has an excellent infrastructure for the planned SAFIR research projects. The SAFIR innovation partnership relies on close networking between industry and science in research and development topics. Starting with the brainstorming process in large companies and specialised SMEs, the process continues with research into basic principles by university and non-university research institutions, before proceeding to individual development phases and then moving on to serial production and ultimately professional waste disposal. IFG Ingolstadt – the Ingolstadt municipal agency for location and economic development – supports SAFIR as a project partner in the field of autonomous mobility in urban areas.
The research partnership currently comprises 22 partners: in addition to 15 core partners, there are seven further so-called associated partners from science and industry. The network includes the existing and planned research infrastructure of the CARISSMA research facility as well as the test tracks for autonomous driving (A9 motorway section A9; “first mile” Ingolstadt) and the OEM vehicle test site. As a test field for networked mobility, the city and region aim to strengthen the international competitiveness of regional companies. Ingolstadt is to support CARISSMA as a test field for networked mobility, as well as strengthening innovation in regional companies as well as start-ups.
Further partners in the bundling of Bavaria-wide scientific competence in vehicle safety are the Technical University of Munich, the Centre for Digitisation in Bavaria (ZD.B), the Allgäu Research Centre (FZA) at Kempten University of Applied Sciences and the Vehicle Safety Cooperation Network with Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences. These competencies are to be coordinated via the Bavarian Science Forum (BayWISS), in which the THI cooperates with Technical University of Munich and Kempten University of Applied Sciences as the responsible body for the topic “Mobility and Traffic”. SAFIR takes the increasing internationalisation of automotive companies into account by involving international partners. Cooperation talks have been held with the Brazilian research institute Institutos Lactec and CERTI (Foundation Centers of Reference in Innovative Technologies) through the German-Brazilian network AWARE (Applied Network on Automotive Research and Education) funded by the DAAD.