Research projects at the Center for Empirical Research (ZEF) such as “DHBW Drive” or the use of the driving simulator make the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Stuttgart very attractive. Especially for students at the Faculty of Economics. By Elke Rutschmann


Whether pedelecs, e-scooters, car-sharing or long-distance buses – never before have so many mobility offers flooded the cities. But how do users perceive these different forms of mobility? These questions are also being addressed by students at the DHBW Stuttgart from the Business Administration Industry/Industrial Service Management courses in the Faculty of Economics, where 3886 students are currently enrolled in 24 courses.

The Center for Empirical Research (ZEF) has been conducting so-called teaching-integrated research projects for years. In these projects, current economic topics are integrated into the teaching using empirical methods. “This gives students the opportunity to participate in empirical projects at an early stage,” says Dr. Sarah Selinka, research associate at ZEF. In this specific case, the “New Mobility” project involved representative sample acquisition in a field study with over 2100 test persons.

The students were responsible for the evaluation of the collected data using sophisticated statistical methods. In addition, teams of students independently tested various mobility carriers (e.g. Uber, Lime, DriveNow), documented the respective customer journeys and identified potential for improvement. The astonishing result: More than 40 percent of the respondents were unfamiliar with the mobility carriers they were asked about.

DHBW-Drive is the real laboratory for micro mobility

Since this October, “DHBW Drive” is another exciting project. Behind it is the real-world laboratory Micro Mobility, which is carried out by employees of ZEF and the Center for Vehicle Development and Sustainable Mobility (ZFM), which is part of the Faculty of Engineering. Until February 2021, students, employees and lecturers can borrow e-scooters free of charge at the various DHBW Stuttgart locations and park them there again.

The aim of the interdisciplinary project is to research the acceptance and usage experience of location-bound micro-mobility concepts. “Within the DHBW, the data will be evaluated pseudonymized in an integration seminar by the students of the Business Administration Industry program,” says Daniel Grühn, one of the project managers. The project is led by Prof. Dr. Marc Kuhn (Economics) and Prof. Dr.-Ing.

“Public institutions such as hospitals are often spread over an entire urban area. In our research, we now want to find out whether micromobility offers contribute to reducing the ‘perceived’ distances between locations, how they are used by users in their everyday lives and what the user experience ultimately looks like,” says Kuhn. These teaching-integrated research projects make the DHBW Stuttgart attractive in the business segment. The focus is on working in small groups.

With VR glasses on the driving simulator

The technical equipment at ZEF also includes a driving simulator with three stationary screens and VR glasses. This makes it possible to analyze the acceptance of new technologies in the field of autonomous driving. The simulator offers a representation of the real world and triggers emotions comparable to those on the road when driving.

At ZEF, various methods are possible to measure the emotional state of drivers. The test persons selected by the students can use EEG and eye-tracking systems to track stress indicators and eye movement.  However, the eye-trackers are also used in other segments. For example, students can test the effect of a new website of their company on test persons. Therefore, companies also benefit from the orientation and equipment of ZEF.


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