City:  Stuttgart
Date:  Apr 11, 2024

Master Thesis - Development of a Tactile Sensor Concept for Mobile Outdoor Robots

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft ( currently operates 76 institutes and research institutions throughout Germany and is the world’s leading applied research organization. Around 30 800 employees work with an annual research budget of 3.0 billion euros. 

In the Professional Service Robots - Outdoor research group we develop autonomous, mobile robots for a variety of outdoor applications, such as agriculture and forestry. The focus is on the development of an autonomous outdoor navigation solution as well as the hardware of the robots.
We are continuously developing our mobile agricultural robots - CURTmini, CURTdiff and CURTmaxi ( - in ongoing projects. The safety concepts of conventional mobile service robots often cannot be used in outdoor areas, as such areas are significantly more complex. Particularly in the case of large autonomous robots, there is still a need to protect people and animals from damage. To fulfill these important safety functions, an effective but simple safety sensor system is needed on our mobile robots. The proposed thesis topic will therefore deal with the development of such a concept.


What you will do

As part of your Master's thesis, you will design and prototype a comprehensive safety sensor concept, presumably based on tactile environment detection, for our CURTdiff mobile outdoor robots. To do this, it is first necessary to research the relevant safety guidelines for robotics in the context of agriculture. Based on this, sensor concepts should then be designed to meet the requirements of the safety guidelines as well as the requirements for robustness in use in complex environmental scenarios (high grass, uneven ground, poor weather). The system will be designed in CAD, built in our workshop and tested under real conditions on our test fields for evaluation.


What you bring to the table

  • Background in Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics or similar 
  • Profound knowledge mechanical design and design methods (e.g. VDI 2221)
  • Experience with CAD software 
  • Experience with safety equipment and sensors is a plus
  • Enthusiasm for mobile robotics
  • Fluent in English or German 
  • Craft skills is a plus


What you can expect

  • Cutting-edge technology in the field of outdoor mobile robotics 
  • Expert supervision from certified safety experts and mechanical design engineers 
  • Hands on with our robots on our own test fields in Stuttgart 
  • Take on responsibility and freedom to implement your own ideas
  • Familiar atmosphere including Cake Friday


We also offer the possibility of direct entry for excellent graduates.


We value and promote the diversity of our employees' skills and therefore welcome all applications - regardless of age, gender, nationality, ethnic and social origin, religion, ideology, disability, sexual orientation and identity. Severely disabled persons are given preference in the event of equal suitability. 

With its focus on developing key technologies that are vital for the future and enabling the commercial utilization of this work by business and industry, Fraunhofer plays a central role in the innovation process. As a pioneer and catalyst for groundbreaking developments and scientific excellence, Fraunhofer helps shape society now and in the future. 

If you are interested, please submit a short letter of motivation on your personal favourite topic listed above, CV, current grade transcript to 

Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA 


Requisition Number: 71231                Application Deadline:


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