Mobility and Technology

Center for Automated Driving and Service Technology (CAST)

The Center for Automated Driving and Service Technology (CAST) is a teaching and research laboratory in the Faculty of Mobility and Technology which exploits new dimensions for its teaching, learning and research. It is no accident that teaching and research in the field of automated driving and automotive service are under the same roof.

Location: City Campus Esslingen, building 3


360°-CAST-Round Tour (German Version)

Areas of activity

The main areas of activity here are:
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving (AD)

  • Ego vehicle sensors
  • Environment sensors / machine vision:
    • ultrasonic sensors
    • radar
    • lidar
    • mono /stereo video
  • Sensor data processing (image processing, PCD, ...)
  • Sensor data fusion and tracking
  • Localisation and mapping (SLAM)
  • Action planning
  • Functions and systems
  • Validation

Vehicle diagnostics

  • Metrology
  • Diagnostic strategies
  • Diagnostics engineering
  • Vehicle networking
  • Diagnostics on high-voltage vehicles and components
  • Rest-bus simulation

Service technology

  • Repair methods for multi-material car bodies
  • Innovative repair methods (e. g. repair of carbon-fibre reinforced plastics)
  • Statutory vehicle inspection
  • Suspension measurements while undergoing service and in production
  • Workshop equipment and special tools
  • Service-friendly design
  • Quality audit
  • Handling electric vehicles in the Service department

Automotive management / automotive business models

  • Market / competitors / customers
  • Business models in automotive sales (sales, service, spare parts)
  • Sales & marketing systems
  • Sales processes
  • Service processes (maintenance / repair)
  • Process optimisation
  • Customer journey and customer behavior in sales and service
  • Supply chain management and spare part logistics
  • Mobility and service products
  • Digitisation (products, processes) and service scenarios
  • Parts logistics
  • Procedures in the Service business

Laboratory exercises and projects

Our teaching combines theory with practice

  • Project work and final projects for Bachelor and Master programmes

Project work and final projects relating to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving (AD) originate from all areas of driver assistance and automated driving, preferably in cooperation with the automotive industry.

The areas of activity relating to Service are very varied. The project work and final projects are therefore correspondingly diverse. Their inventiveness knows hardly any bounds. The research work being undertaken here relates to the Service vehicle workshop 4.0, for example, or investigates the effects of digitisation on Service information and the new automotive services.

For the Automotive Engineering (B.Eng.), Engineering Education Automotive Engineering - Mechanical Engineering (B.Sc.) and Automotive Systems (B.Eng.) degree programmes, the following laboratory courses take place at CAST:

  • Seminar Automotive engineering in the 1st semester

The lectures forming part of the Automotive Engineering Seminar are supplemented by practical laboratory exercises at CAST. The students become acquainted with basic automotive systems, and experience and try them out for themselves. The small groups are tutored by their fellow students. Several students with practical experience in automotive systems (for example who have completed apprenticeships as automotive mechatronic engineers) are selected in advance and prepared for their role as a tutor. We thus ensure that there is something new for everyone.

  • Compulsory elective module - Diagnostics and Service Technology

In the Motor Vehicle Diagnostics Laboratory, the diagnostics lecture is supplemented by practical experience and diagnostics skills, practical troubleshooting and the development of various troubleshooting strategies. This covers a spectrum starting with the fundamentals of diagnostics and techniques for taking correct measurements through to complex, computer-aided diagnostic processes. The aim is to equip students with the skills to recognise and independently solve technical problems which occur in connection with commissioning, maintenance, repair and operation. Modern vehicles and the latest diagnostic tools are available to help them achieve this goal.

In the Service Technology Laboratory, students explore the principles of service-friendly engineering design in a practically relevant way. They are allowed to use innovative repair procedures themselves. In addition, they experience the challenges presented by a large range of measurement and testing tasks with different workshop equipment such as for exhaust measurement or carrying out a “service disconnect” on high-voltage vehicles.

  • Compulsory elective module - Automobile management

The students gain their own experience with a dealer-management system and other tools used in the world of automotive service in the Automotive Business Models Laboratory. They also experience the principles of process optimisations, lean management and Six Sigma in challenging group tasks.

Laboratory equipment

The Center for Automated Driving and Service Technology (CAST) is equipped with the modern tools and the testing and diagnostic equipment required to carry out laboratory exercises, projects and vehicle investigations. The range of equipment is continually being expanded:

  • Modern vehicles of various classes: with different drivetrain technologies ranging from the Hyundai i10 (1.1l Otto engine) to the BMW 740Le (Plug-in hybrid).
  • Diagnostic systems: Mercedes-Benz XENTRY Diagnostics, Audi (ODIS), BMW (ISPI Next), BMW AOS, BOSCH (ESI tronic 2.0), Hyundai (G-Scan).
  • Software and information systems from different areas of automotive aftersales: WERBAS, ERWIN-Portal (Audi), BMW Aftersales Information Research (AIR), Mercedes-Benz Werkstatt-Informations-System (WIS).
  • Infrastructure facilities: 4-poster hydraulic lift (AQUA-Lift), mobile vehicle lifts (4 x 7.5t for trucks), exhaust gas extraction system with extraction slit channel, brake test stand, EVSE (22 kW charging station type 2 in accordance with IEC62196 for plug-in hybrids and battery-powered electric vehicles), virtual reality workstation (HTC VIVE pro wireless in addition to PC hardware & software, can also be used for augmented reality).
  • Tools and testing equipment for service, maintenance and repair: battery chargers, chassis and suspension measurement and adjustment equipment, headlamp adjustment device, exhaust emission tester, vehicle glazing repair set, tools and personal protective equipment for working on high-voltage vehicles, bodywork straightening bench and much more.
  • The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving (AD) area of activity has:
    • a 16-level laser scanner (LIDAR) for a 360° scan
    • various camera systems (mono and stereo) and the corresponding possibilities for image processing
    • a powerful workstation suitable for machine learning, among other things (pretrained neuronal networks: YOLO, etc.)
    • access to various vehicles and computer platforms (NVIDIA Jetson Xavier, ...) for field testing.

At the same time, CAST also offers various options for external training facilities, institutions and industry to use. Special events, seminars, conferences, meetings, vehicle inspections, car clinics and many more: the Center organises a wide-ranging programme.


Research and teaching in theory and practice

In the Center for Automated Driving and Service Technology, the research is closely intermeshed with the teaching and also with partners from industry and the public sector. On the one hand, CAST examines the impact of new technologies and new societal trends on the changing automotive industry and on automotive After-Sales. Its other focus is automated driving and the integration of the technologies necessary for this. Both take place under the same roof, since automated driving and added value in automotive After-Sales have a great many interdependencies. Specifically, it also investigates the opportunities to recognise new technologies and find ways of fitting them into the automotive value added chain. The applied research fields concentrate on the following issues:

  • Automated Driving

The focus is on the experimental automation of the Rennstall and E-Stall racing cars to extend Formula Student towards Formula Student Driverless (FSD). All elements of the signal processing chain of modern AD systems are used here: lidar sensors, video sensors, processing of PCD and imaging data, training of deep neuronal networks (DNN, CNN), etc.

  • After-Sales for electric mobility

The maintenance, fault diagnosis and repair of electric vehicles will change significantly compared to the situation with conventionally powered vehicles. Many issues relating to the maintenance and repair of battery-powered electric vehicles and those with fuel cells are still largely unclear and are solved in very different ways by the various actors in the market.

More detailed information on the opportunities and risks which electric mobility will bring for the motor vehicle trade and for After-Sales in particular can be found in the study "Entwicklung der Beschäftigung im After Sales - Effekte aus der Elektromobilität (Employment trends in after-sales - effects from electric mobility” (pdf). This was also explored using the resources available at CAST.

Further issues such as the diagnostic possibilities and repairability of traction batteries are investigated in the long term and regularly lead to papers at conferences such as the EVS (Electric Vehicle Symposium).

  • Innovative maintenance and repair concepts

Various combinations of materials, composites and joining technologies are providing more and more varied challenges for service companies when repairing accident-damaged vehicles.

  • Vehicle diagnostics of the future

New technologies offer completely new possibilities and also challenges when diagnosing faults in motor vehicles. Vehicles can now be individualised more and more, and the mechatronic and electronic systems in the vehicles are becoming more and more complex, and this can stretch conventional diagnostic systems and processes to their limits. This is where technologies such as Big Data or Data Science and artificial intelligence offer promising opportunities to further develop automotive diagnostics for the benefit of all parties concerned.

  • Going down new roads in the man-machine interaction

The closely intermeshed collaboration between man and machine is also having a bigger and bigger impact on the routine work in the vehicle workshop. Nowadays, no-one can imagine a workshop without digital testers or workshop information systems. The man-machine collaboration is predominantly characterised by the flow of information. To improve it, it is conceivable that augmented reality or other innovative technologies will be used in the workshop processes.


Interested? Apply! for the Wintersemester 2023/24