Development of an open vehicle platform for the mobility of the future


Dr. Michael Lahres

Daimler AG

Dr. Michael Lahres is a mechanical engineer and will lead the FlexCAR project from 1.8.2021. He is responsible for external representation and represents FlexCAR towards the project executing agency and the partners.


The open platform with open interfaces for the updatable and upgradeable vehicle of the future

Smartphones have fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Extensive office and data communication is possible from any place and at any time. Standardized and open software interfaces (API) allow third party providers to offer new applications based on existing hardware.

The vision of the collaborative project FlexCAR is to transfer this development to new mobility concepts...

... by opening up the process of innovation, development, production, and distribution. Suppliers as well as new market participants such as start-ups or developer communities are invited to provide services and components for the platform operator (OEM) or directly for the end customer over the entire vehicle life cycle. For this purpose, interfaces must be defined on the hardware and software side. They must be as easy to use as possible (plug & play), but still meet the highest cybersecurity requirements.

Within the framework of the cyberphysical vehicle platform FlexCAR, self-reflecting, self-describing and service-oriented components are to be developed and integrated in a vehicle demonstrator.

The open platform with open interfaces is a visionary way to react to the increasingly heterogeneous and volatile requirements of the market. User requirements change in ever shorter cycles, which in turn lead to greatly shortened product and technology life cycles. This places demands on the vehicle and producers of the future that can no longer be met by conventional means.

The FlexCAR project is divided into four thematic areas

Subject area 1 - "Rolling Chassis" develops an electrically driven and fully X-by-Wire driven research platform with accessible and open software and hardware – the Rolling Chassis. The platform serves as an aggregate carrier and common basis for the individual FlexCAR technologies.

The focus of topic 2 - "Interior and cyberphysical access" deals with these very topics. If the customer books a ride via an app, the request is sent and processed via 5G. According to the customer's requirements, a vehicle is assigned and the customer is provided with information regarding place and time. The vehicle arrives at the agreed time at the agreed place and keeps an eye out for the customer. Contact can be made with the vehicle via outward facing cameras. Only authorized individuals are granted access and the trip is billed accordingly. The future interaction between passengers and autonomous vehicles is also important while driving and is another research topic in the FlexCAR project.

Subject area 3 - "Flexible product and production concepts" the production concept of FlexCAR will be developed in close cooperation with the Fluid Production project. The factory components will be networked and communicate in a common language. With the help of standardized interfaces, the Rolling Chassis is part of the cyberphysical production system and can be used during production, for example, as a driverless transport system, thus replacing current transport and conveyor technology in the factory.

Subject area 4 - "Open development process of modular vehicles" deals with the implementation of one of the essential criteria of FlexCAR, the open development process. The aim is to achieve open interfaces for hardware and software, which will allow new business models to be established. FlexCAR is consequently much more than just a new vehicle concept, but offers a research platform for the central development and production of modular vehicle systems.

"ARENA2036 is an ideal environment for us to work together with other partners on innovative topics. The Research Campus offers optimal conditions for interdisciplinary cooperation across company and institute borders."

Jens Maier


csi entwicklungstechnik GmbH

"The close cooperation with various industrial partners and institutes opens up completely new possibilities for my research. Through the constant exchange and the short distances, I am able to come up with completely new ideas and can quickly implement and test them."

M.Sc. Annika Ackermann

Scientific assistant for fibre composite technology

University of Stuttgart

"On behalf of the Mercedes-Benz AG research department, we are developing an autonomously driving research platform (Rolling Chassis) in ARENA2036, which will serve as the basis for the publicly funded FlexCAR project. Within the scope of this project, a multitude of innovative production processes up to the latest technologies for electric-autonomous driving will be used. In almost all areas, experts from industry and science are located on the research campus ARENA2036, who are highly committed to applying their knowledge. Especially the diversity in a small area in combination with the latest infrastructure offers unlimited possibilities to contribute to the future."

Martin Gottwald

Former Project Manager FlexCAR Rolling Chassis

Daimler AG