Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS

Engineering AI for safe systems

Artificial intelligence, cognitive systems and intelligent software architectures for autonomous systems. Research for the future is part of our DNA. Helping to ensure people’s safety is our scientific responsibility.

The researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS are always thinking one step ahead when it comes to new software technologies, working to adapt them to the requirements of an increasingly complex world.

Serving as an independent partner of industry, we conduct applied research into dependable software technologies for safety-critical applications in the areas of Industry 4.0 and automotive, as well as mobile machines and commercial vehicles. This allows the enormous potential of intelligent software to open up completely new opportunities.

Our approach is called safe intelligence. We reconcile intelligence and safety in the truest sense. Through safe intelligence we ensure that cognitive systems function and are used with the best interests and well-being of people in mind. Systems that we can place our full trust in. For a world that we can depend on.

In order to drive these issues forward, the former Fraunhofer ESK was used as the foundation for the creation of a new Fraunhofer institute: the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS.


Executive Director: Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Mario Trapp

Gruppenbild des Teams von Fraunhofer IKS auf einem Hügel mit Bergen im Hintergrund
© Fraunhofer IKS / Andreas Jacob
The team of the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS in Munich


The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft based in Germany is the world's leading applied research organization. Prioritizing key future-relevant technologies and commercializing its findings in business and industry, it plays a major role in the innovation process. It is a trailblazer and trendsetter in innovative developments and research excellence. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft supports research and industry with inspiring ideas and sustainable scientific and technological solutions and is helping shape our society and our future.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's interdisciplinary research teams turn original ideas into innovations together with contracting industry and public sector partners, coordinate and complete essential key research policy projects and strengthen the German and European economy with ethical value creation. International collaborative partnerships with outstanding research partners and businesses all over the world provide for direct dialogue with the most prominent scientific communities and most dominant economic regions.

Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 76 institutes and research units throughout Germany. Over 30,000 employees, predominantly scientists and engineers, work with an annual research budget of €2.9 billion. Fraunhofer generates €2.5 billion of this from contract research. Industry contracts and publicly funded research projects account for around two thirds of that. The federal and state governments contribute around another third as base funding, enabling institutes to develop solutions now to problems that will become crucial to industry and society in the near future.

The impact of applied research goes far beyond its direct benefits to clients: Fraunhofer institutes enhance businesses' performance, improve social acceptance of advanced technology and educate and train the urgently needed next generation of research scientists and engineers.

Highly motivated employees up on cutting-edge research constitute the most important success factor for us as a research organization. Fraunhofer consequently provides opportunities for independent, creative and goal-driven work and thus for professional and personal development, qualifying individuals for challenging positions at our institutes, at higher education institutions, in industry and in society. Practical training and early contacts with clients open outstanding opportunities for students to find jobs and experience growth in business and industry.

The prestigious nonprofit Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's namesake is Munich scholar Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826). He enjoyed equal success as a researcher, inventor and entrepreneur.

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