Institute for Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Propulsion (IFS)

About Us

Here you can find information about the institute

Basic university research in the field of automotive and engine technology

The Institute of Automotive Engineering IFS is part of the Faculty of Design, Production and Automotive Engineering of the University of Stuttgart and deals with research and teaching in the field of automotive and engine technology. In cooperation with the Forschungsinstitut für Kraftfahrwesen und Fahrzeugmotoren Stuttgart, FKFS for short, the university's basic research is combined with applied contract research. The institute is also home to the racing, green and driverless teams of the University of Stuttgart, which very successfully develop student and autonomous racing cars for the Formula Student competition.

The three chairs of the institute are:

Chair of Automotive Engineering by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Wagner
Chair of Automotive Mechatronics by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Christian Reuss
Chair of Vehicle Drives by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Bargende

The fields of activity of the Vehicle Drives division are thermodynamics and combustion processes, exhaust gas analysis and development tools, engine acoustics and mechanics, test bench technology, combustion engines, 0D / 1D simulation, with a focus on increasing efficiency and minimizing emissions and noise of vehicle drives. The systemic optimization of combustion-engine drives (gasoline and diesel engines) as well as hybrid and fuel-cell drives are particularly in focus.

The Automotive Engineering sector is primarily concerned with the properties of the entire vehicle and its design and optimization using virtual methods. Central research focuses are vehicle aerodynamics and wind tunnel technology, vehicle dynamics and driving comfort, vehicle acoustics and vibrations as well as thermal management in experiments and simulations.

Automotive mechatronics deals with the fields of vehicle electrical system, energy management, networking and E/E architecture, autonomous driving, function and software development, modelling and simulation, electromobility, alternative drives, testing and diagnosis.

Degree course in vehicle and engine technology

In the study course Vehicle and Engine Technology, students are taught knowledge from the areas of vehicle drives, vehicle technology and mechatronics. These include alternative fuels, aerodynamics and acoustics. The electrification of the vehicle and the function of control units and software are also part of the courses. The automation and networking of vehicles has already been covered in the lectures of FMT for several years. Due to the increased importance of this topic, the University of Stuttgart has been dedicating a new specialisation subject in the Master's programme FMT to it since the winter semester 2017 / 2018. Under the leadership of the IFS and the Institute for Automation Technology and Software Systems IAS, a cross-faculty lecture program was developed.

The test benches of the institute

The institute provides numerous highly specialized test benches,
Learn more on the detail pages of the test facilities.
Das Institut stellt zahlreiche hoch spezialisierte Prüfstände zur Verfügung,
Erfahren Sie mehr auf den Detailseiten der test benches.


In 1930 Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wunibald Kamm became the first professor to be appointed to the Chair of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines at the then Technical University of Stuttgart. In the same year, Wunibald Kamm founded the private and non-profit "Forschungsinstitut für Kraftfahrwesen und Fahrzeugmotoren Stuttgart (FKFS)" (Research Institute for Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart), which served to teach students at the Technical University and was affiliated to the TH Stuttgart as a scientific institute. Wunibald Kamm developed the FKFS into the largest and scientifically leading research institute in the field of automotive engineering. In addition to numerous fundamental studies on motor vehicles and their engines, motor vehicle aerodynamics has always been a special focus. Professor Kamm developed the prototype of an aerodynamically innovative passenger car and built the first 1:1 wind tunnel for motor vehicles.

After 1945 this tradition was continued by his successor, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Paul Riekert, who in 1949 became full professor of the above-mentioned chair and at the same time director of the FKFS. Paul Riekert took over the reconstruction of the research institute. Already in the 30's and 40's Professor Riekert devoted himself intensively to vehicle dynamics. After the end of the war and reconstruction, he continued his research work in this field and developed the "Stuttgart Friction Meter" to determine the grip of the tyre-road combination. In 1967, the Technical University of Stuttgart was renamed the University of Stuttgart. During this time, the idea was born to separate the research institute from the teaching and research tasks of the chair of the same name. For this purpose, the dual institute IKUV of the University of Stuttgart was founded in 1970/71, which consisted of two completely independent institutes connected by common central facilities. In order to distinguish the fields of work of both institutes, they were called "Institut für Kraftfahrwesen und Fahrzeugmotoren (IKF)" and "Institut für Verbrennungsmotoren und Arbeitsmaschinen (IVA)".

In 1971 Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulf Essers took over the Chair of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines at the University of Stuttgart, became Director of the IKF University Institute of the same name and was also a member of the FKFS Executive Board. In addition to his tasks in research and teaching, he planned the construction of the new institute on the university campus in Stuttgart - Vaihingen. In 1975, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of the double institute IKUV, consisting of IKF (Prof. Essers) and IVA (Prof. Huber). After the surprising death of Prof. Huber, the orphaned IVA was rededicated as the "Institute for Technical Combustion ITV". The field of internal combustion engines was affiliated to the IKF, which was subsequently renamed the "Institut für Fahrzeugtechnik Stuttgart (IFS)". The new building was occupied by IFS and FKFS in 1978 and extended by a wind tunnel with a model wind tunnel and a 1:1 vehicle wind tunnel in 1988. Professor Essers founded the new research focus "Noise reduction in motor vehicles and engines". In addition to numerous projects on noise reduction in engines and tyres, several low-noise commercial vehicles were developed and prototyped. Modern engine test benches, state-of-the-art and equipped with the corresponding measurement technology, were the basis for successful engine research. One focus in this research area was the use of alternative fuels. In 1993, the vehicle wind tunnel was upgraded to an aeroacoustic tunnel, making it the most powerful aeroacoustic vehicle wind tunnel in Europe.

With the retirement of Professor Essers in 1998, structural changes were made in IFS and FKFS. In future, three chairs, two of which were donated by the automotive industry, were to be responsible for the Institute's upcoming tasks. Jochen Wiedemann succeeded Prof. Essers as Professor of Automotive Engineering in 1998. In the same year Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Bargende was appointed to the Chair of Internal Combustion Engines. In 2004, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Christian Reuss was appointed to the Chair of Automotive Mechatronics. All three chairs were combined in the Institute of Automotive Engineering (IFS) at the University of Stuttgart. The three professors jointly take over the management of the IFS and are board members of the FKFS; the chair changes every two years.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Wagner will take over the Chair of Automotive Engineering at the Institute for Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines IFS at the University of Stuttgart on 1 March 2019. At the same time, he will become a member of the Executive Board of the Research Institute for Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart FKFS, as the professorship and membership of the FKFS Executive Board will be filled by the same person. In both functions he succeeds Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jochen Wiedemann.

On April 1, 2020, the Institute of Internal Combustion Engines and Automotive Engineering (IFS) was renamed into the Institute of Automotive Engineering Stuttgart (IFS).

Kooperation IFS - FKFS

FKFS - Partner of the international automotive and supplier industry
With the cooperation of the FKFS it is possible for the IFS to combine basic university research with applied contract research.
Today, the FKFS is a partner of the international automotive and supplier industry and a renowned German development service provider. More than 140 dedicated and highly qualified employees drive research and development projects in the fields of powertrain, vehicle and automotive mechatronics. Thanks to highly specialized test benches and our own measurement, testing and simulation procedures developed at the FKFS, complex and demanding problems can be solved. In addition, we have many years of experience in the development and application of development tools. Because the FKFS is at the forefront of research work for the automotive industry, the absolute secrecy of projects is an unwritten law.
A cooperation agreement with the Institut of Automotive Engineering Stuttgart (IFS) defines the boundary conditions for cooperation with the University of Stuttgart.

The independent foundation

The Forschungsinstitut für Kraftfahrwesen und Fahrzeugmotoren Stuttgart FKFS is an independent foundation under public law. It does not receive any basic funding from the public sector.
The institute was founded in 1930 by Wunibald Kamm, a pioneer of modern automotive engineering and professor of automotive engineering. Model wind tunnels were available at an early stage in the meanwhile leading institute, and from 1940 even a 1:1 vehicle wind tunnel was available.

Further information about the FKFS can be found here: FKFS

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