Interview with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Vietor - Chairman of the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFF)
Professor Vietor provides insight into the role of sustainability at the NFF and the opportunities of future students to be part of the ongoing transformation in the mobility sector.
Which is the most urgent topic in the mobility sector of ground traffic?
The most important recent and future topics in mobility are sustainability and safety. Sustainable mobility means that all moving and transporting of people, animals and goods is done under specific consideration of the limitation of all used resources. For sustainable mobility not only the transport itself is considered but as well the production and energy consumption for the raw materials needed for the vehicle and for recycling or re-use after the usage period. Safety on the other hand means to prevent accidents or limit the negative impact of accidents.
What is special about the study programme Sustainable Engineering?
The main focus of the courses I am currently teaching is on mechanical engineering. However, during my industry experience and in our research projects I experienced the importance of interdisciplinary work specifically in the large field of mobility. In the study programme Sustainable Engineering, students will learn methods from different disciplines and how to work in interdisciplinary teams. This is very special for a study programme and an excellent basis for working in science and industry.
How will students of Sustainable Engineering be involved in the research work at the NFF?
The research institutes of the NFF teach part of the course programme and bring in their experience in research and application. Students can select research projects offered by the 44 institutes of the NFF. Accordingly, they use their state-of the-art infrastructure like the virtual-reality lab or the experimental vehicles for autonomous driving. The research projects cover various disciplines, e.g. vehicle engineering, engineering design, traffic planning or psychology.