Smart Rural Areas

Rethinking Smart Technologies for Rural Areas

Making life in rural areas worth living in the future is our joint responsibility in government, research, business, and society. Science and research should make every effort to support the pursuit of new and innovative paths. The Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern therefore considers itself a pioneer and companion for future-oriented ideas, which are being developed in numerous collaborations with business enterprises.

With the research initiative “Smart Rural Areas”, Fraunhofer IESE contributes its competencies regarding “A Future for Rural Regions“ for the benefit of the Western Palatinate region and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate on the one hand and – in a cross-discipline approach including various partners – for the benefit of Germany and the European Union on the other hand.

With innovative solutions and concepts for the future, we are collaborating with selected partners in the initiative “Smart Rural Areas” on better exploiting the potential offered by life in the country. Limitations and obstacles that currently speak against rural life shall be eliminated and overcome with the help of smart, software-based solutions. With new concepts we want to bring rural life from the sidelines into the fast lane and thereby make it just as attractive as the model of a future life in “Smart Cities”. This will allow everyone to re-think their own life plans and to freely decide – independent of any constraints – how and where they want to live. Whether Smart Cities or Smart Rural Areas – the time for addressing the challenges for future life models is now.

Whereas many research approaches already deal with our future life in Smart Cities, we want to focus on what is on our doorstep: life away from urban hubs, life in lesser populated regions and areas – not only in Rhineland-Palatinate and Germany, but prospectively also worldwide.

The research initiative “Smart Rural Areas” of Fraunhofer IESE now allows progress to be made for the Western Palatinate as a model region and for Rhineland-Palatinate as an innovative state. This is why a so-called Living Lab is being established at Fraunhofer IESE, which will serve as a development and evaluation platform for creating the infrastructure needed for the development of new ideas for innovative products for “Smart Rural Areas” and thus for demonstrating the overall potential. Here we offer our project partners from research and industry space to develop and simulate joint solutions and to let them mature.

The projects that have already started at Fraunhofer IESE in collaboration with local enterprises include projects with John Deere in the area of innovative agricultural concepts (Living Lab “Smart Farming”) as well as projects with the Westpfalz-Klinikum hospital, which enable faster response in emergencies primarily through modern, software-based medical monitoring of patients. In the area of autonomous driving, too, Fraunhofer IESE is currently engaged in research together with partners from the automobile industry to develop solutions that will transform commuting by car from a necessary evil to meaningfully used transfer time, or that will look at logistics issues from a completely new perspective.

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