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18.09.19

KU investigates social acceptance of air taxis and drones

From now on, Ingolstadt’s pedestrian zone features a showroom on the future of mobility where citizens have the opportunity to learn about technical possibilities of urban air mobility. In an accompanying research project, the KU intends to carry out workshops, surveys and qualitative interviews over the following months to find out about expectations and concerns in connection with drones and air taxis and how the population’s reservations can be taken into account during the technological development process.


KU employee Frederica Janotta with a drone model. In the context of project GABI, researchers investigate public acceptance of urban air mobility in Ingolstadt.

KU employee Frederica Janotta with a drone model. In the context of project GABI, researchers investigate public acceptance of urban air mobility in Ingolstadt.

(from left) Dr. Franz Glatz and project team member Lisa Zill (brigk), Landrat Martin Wolf from Pfaffenhofen, project team member Bianca Krauser and Ingolstadt mayor Dr. Christian Lösel, member of the German Bundestag Dr. Reinhard Brandl, KU employee Frederica Janotta, KU Vice President Prof. Dr. Jens Hogreve, Daniel Baumann and Ingolstadt city manager Hans Meier. (Photos: Klenk/Press Office)

(from left) Dr. Franz Glatz and project team member Lisa Zill (brigk), Landrat Martin Wolf from Pfaffenhofen, project team member Bianca Krauser and Ingolstadt mayor Dr. Christian Lösel, member of the German Bundestag Dr. Reinhard Brandl, KU employee Frederica Janotta, KU Vice President Prof. Dr. Jens Hogreve, Daniel Baumann and Ingolstadt city manager Hans Meier. (Photos: Klenk/Press Office)

On Tuesday evening, the Ingolstadt mayor Dr. Christian Lösel, member of the German Bundestag Dr. Reinhard Brandl and KU Vice President Prof. Dr. Jens Hogreve inaugurated the living lab “Vertikal” which is located in the Ludwigstraße 39 in a former retail space. The lab, which is described as “showroom for three-dimensional mobility”, exhibits airworthy drone models. In addition, visitors can watch videos and three-dimensional simulations and catch a glimpse on an Airbus model all of which give an idea of the current state of technology and explain existing or planned fields of application for drones and air taxis. In a tent in the backyard of the storeroom, visitors can experiment by flying drones themselves.

The showroom is a joint project of the city of Ingolstadt, the digital start-up center brigk and the KU. At the opening event, the Ingolstadt mayor Lösel emphasized the great economic significance of the development and retention of knowhow in this new field of mobility for the companies in the region such as Audi or Airbus. The aim was to investigate and test the future of urban mobility at the location in Ingolstadt – this important technology sector must not be left to American or Chinese competitors. The member of the German Bundestag Reinhard Brandl, reported that even the French metropolis Toulouse had meanwhile reacted to the Ingolstadt urban air initiative and, being another Airbus site, also tried to take the leading role with the help of state subsidies. Thus, Ingolstadt is exposed to fierce competition.

Lösel said that the Ingolstadt initiative “Urban Air Mobility” already had 60 partners, many of them companies and municipalities or districts from the region. The Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt and the KU are also supporters of the project. One of the major challenges faced by the initiative is “informing the citizens at an early stage and showing them how broad the range of possibilities offered by modern technologies actually is”, says Lösel. He therefore particularly welcomes the launch of the KU’s accompanying research project on the topic.

The project “Gesellschaftliche Akzeptanz und Bürgerintegration im Rahmen von Urban Air Mobility“ (GABI), which deals with the social acceptance and integration of citizens in the context of urban air mobility, is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport with 100,000 euros. The project team seeks to identify driving forces and inhibitors in connection with social acceptance of drones and air taxis and want to test and evaluate different formats for informing and involving citizens in the process. Vice President Prof. Dr. Jens Hogreve, Chair of Service Management at the KU (where the project is hosted), said at the opening event of the showroom that the KU attached great importance to bringing digitalization and technological development processes closer to the human. “We have to focus on the implications of such systems for the lives and professional environments of the users and other people affected by the changes”, says Hogreve. Project GABI wants to make complex technologies that are used in drones and air taxis “more tangible, accessible and easier to understand”.

Project team member Frederica Janotta revealed that several information events and different formats for carrying out surveys among citizens were in the pipeline. In the context of a workshop, participants will soon have the opportunity to build and test small drones themselves. On October 19, the project hosts a symposium on drones which will discuss practical applicability of drones. The showroom “Vertikal” will also be open for the public on the Ingolstadt open day (Saturday, September 21, 2019).

Until Christmas, the usual opening hours of the showroom at Ludwigstraße 39 are Tuesdays to Fridays from 02:30 to 05:45 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m.

Further information is available at www.ingolstadt.digital/livinglab.

Watch a video of the opening event on the KU’s YouTube channel .