Fraunhofer - ready for take-off

Among the most efficient gliding birds is the albatross. Its terrific maneuverability and effortless hovering on air currents over thousands of kilometers are admirable. A consortium of six Fraunhofer institutes wants to take this phenomenon from nature and develop the ALBACOPTER, a flying machine that not only hovers fantastically but can also take off and land efficiently. The official kick-off meeting took place virtually on March 8, 2021.

Vision of the ALBACOPTER
© Fraunhofer IVI
Vision of the ALBACOPTER

Urban air transportation - without complex infrastructure, individual, autonomous and pollution-free - what was considered science fiction just a few years ago is now being demonstrated by pioneers of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) with fascinating aircraft in initial field trials. With the lead project ALBACOPTER, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is investing eight million € in an ambitious research project to develop key technologies for UAM. Six institutes of the society (ICT, IEM, IOSB, IMS, IVI and LBF) are participating under the leadership of the Fraunhofer IVI in the construction of the experimental ALBACOPTER aircraft, which pairs the maneuverability of the multicopter with the ability of the albatross to sail over long distances with minimal energy expenditure. The spectrum of scientific challenges to be tested with the experimental platform is broad, ranging from materials research to energy and propulsion technology, communications and automation technology, artificial intelligence and production engineering. Elisa Seiler, research coordinator for the project notes, "Although a multitude of technical, economic and licensing issues remain largely unresolved, the global market forecasts for the coming years and the vision of autonomous flight vehicles to relieve congested centers appealed to us enough to want to conquer the airspace together." With the first take-off of the ALBACOPTER in three to four years, a childhood dream could come true: "To fly like a bird ...".



Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI


Institute Director

Prof. Dr. Matthias Klingner

Telefon +49 351 4640-640



Elke Sähn

Telefon +49 351 4640-612


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About the Fraunhofer IMS

The Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS in Duisburg is a globally recognized research institution for the development of innovative technologies and processes in microelectronics, smart sensor technologies and embedded artificial intelligence. In the business units "Health”, “Industry”, “Mobility”, “Space and Security”, scientists and engineers create innovative and sustainable solutions for the industry, the service sector and the society - for more than 30 years.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, headquartered in Germany, is the world’s leading applied research organization. With its focus on developing key technologies that are vital for the future and enabling the commercial exploitation of this work by business and industry, Fraunhofer plays a central role in the innovation process. As a pioneer and catalyst for groundbreaking developments and scientific excellence, Fraunhofer helps shape society now and in the future. Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 75 institutes and research institutions throughout Germany. The majority of the organization’s 29,000 employees are qualified scientists and engineers, who work with an annual research budget of 2.8 billion euros. Of this sum, 2.4 billion euros are generated through contract research.