Innovation & Research

Innovation & Research

DAKO engages in research and development to advance future technologies and protect the environment



Rising numbers of parcels and logistics competition from mail-order giants on the one hand, falling newspaper subscription numbers and shrinking business areas on the other: Both courier, express and parcel (CEP) service providers and media logistics companies are under enormous pressure to survive in the market. One possible approach is cross-company cooperation to bundle transports. Digital solutions are needed to plan routes efficiently and to coordinate and document the transfer of shipment data. This is the focus of the SMART MULTI-USE LOGISTIK (SML) research project, which aims to develop a collaborative logistics platform with dynamic route planning and open user interfaces for CO2-optimised delivery in cooperation with CEP service providers and media logistics companies in central Germany.

On the one hand, the cooperation approach offers opportunities for media logistics companies to expand their business areas and participate in the supra-regional parcel business. On the other hand, CEP service providers can save on tours by delivering parcel shipments directly with the newspaper or letter post. The challenge is the heterogeneous existing system landscape with closed process chains that have become established in CEP companies and delivery platforms. For cooperation, however, it must be possible to transfer data transparently at every point of the delivery process. This task is to be taken over by a central system platform which, in addition to networking the logistics systems involved, is also responsible for central optimisation across company boundaries.

This should make it possible to uniformly map and plan all processes from the creation of shipments in the web portal to incoming goods in the warehouse to delivery, including mobile order processing and routing, across all companies. The development will incorporate future-oriented technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence. The use of electric vehicles by all cooperation partners and bundled main runs also ensure a significantly improved environmental balance.

The project started in May 2020 and is supported within the framework of the research programme “ICT for electric mobility: intelligent applications for mobility, logistics and energy” funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

In addition to consortium leader DAKO, the consortium consists of five media logistics companies (DDV Mediengruppe, Leipzig Logistik GmbH, MZZ Briefdienst GmbH, Mediengruppe Magdeburg, FUNKE Logistik), the parcel service provider United Parcel Service Deutschland S.à.r.l. & Co OHG (UPS), the pharmaceutical logistics company OPTI-TRANS, and the Thuringian universities Friedrich Schiller University Jena and University of Applied Sciences Erfurt.


Logo Forschungsprojekt SLL

The idea of the research project SMART LOGISTICS for LOCALS (SLL) is based on a virtual marketplace where locally-based retailers and service providers can offer, sell and deliver their products, food and services to local customers using fully digitalised processes.  By making conscious decisions, local consumers can actively support the existence and further development of diversity in their home town. And locally-based logistics service providers, delivering the goods to the doorstep, are enabled to make their delivery processes more sustainable by utilising the full capacity of their delivery tours and vehicles.

Due to the competitive pressure in e-commerce, small retailers and service providers often do not have the necessary resources to build an offer of their own. Everyday business often does not achieve the required turnover to cover the costs of an appropriate online business.

By creating a digital marketplace, including shop systems and package solutions for digitalisation, SLL wants to make it easier for local retailers, service providers and restaurants to enter the online business. New digital distribution channels and access to the corresponding logistical infrastructure aim to consolidate local suppliers and open up broader development perspectives.

The digital marketplace reproduces the local business structure in the virtual world. It enables companies to present their product range and directly contact their customers via digital communication tools. After the customers have completed their order, the offered products are collected at different locations, compiled and delivered the next day. For example, orders of weekly grocery shopping can be combined with regional specialities or food deliveries from a local restaurant.

The logistics branches of regional publishing houses provide this backbone of mobility for the project. The new pick-up and delivery tours of shop orders are to be dovetailed with their core logistic business through empirical analysis of the compatibility from a practical, economical and legal point of view.

The necessary hygiene requirements or any particular demands (e.g. concerning the temperature of goods) are also included in the route planning. Digital solutions are being developed for the consolidation and picking processes and integrated into a depot multi-use concept. Additional services (evening delivery, delivery during pre-defined windows of time) are explored while keeping the routine tours and depot structure in view. All innovations concerning processes and application are tested in real-life settings before a marketing concept is finally derived.

In addition to the software manufacturer DAKO GmbH, Funke Logistik (the logistics branch of the publishing house FUNKE) and local retailers and restaurants from Jena and Erfurt are involved in the project.


Against the backdrop of rapidly growing parcel volumes, CEP service providers are faced with the challenge of optimising processes and services and making them more efficient. More and more subcontractors are being used to handle the increased parcel volumes. Due to heterogeneous (if at all existing) software systems, the data transfer poses a challenge to the actors involved.

This is where DAKO GmbH comes in with the research project KEP-Coop. The goal is to digitally map, dynamise and support the entire logistics process, starting with the delivery in the delivery area and ending with the documentation of the successful delivery.

A particular challenge for the project is the integrated consideration of a cooperative delivery chain, which places additional demands on standardisation and flexibility in finding solutions. To digitalise the process chain for connecting subcontractors, DAKO develops a digital “twin” of the item in cooperation with the project partners. Via the digital image of the consignment, all information should be accessible at any time, such as characteristics like weight, size, delivery promise or status recording. This ensures a clean transfer of the order from the CEP logistics provider to the delivery partner.

Building on the digital parcel image, additional components are being developed, from dynamic route planning to IT-based loading planning and real-time route control to IT-supported delivery and status feedback from the subcontractor to the CEP service provider. The result is to be a digital support system with CEP logistics standards that enables the frictionless and seamless exchange of data between CEP service providers and subcontractors.

The project runs from September 2020 to February 2023 and is funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

For the essential practical experience in CEP and media logistics, DAKO GmbH works on the project with the long-standing partners United Parcel Service Deutschland S.à.r.l. & Co OHG (UPS) and FUNKE Logistik GmbH. The process modules are developed, tested, and optimised using the cooperation between UPS and FUNKE and their feedback.

Logo Forschungsprojekt KEP-Coop


Sustainable transportation concepts and climate protection motivate DAKO to drive electric mobility projects in the commercial vehicle sector forward. Based on project results of SMART CITY LOGISTIK, DAKO and its project partners now focus on the entire supply chain using electric vehicles.  This follow-up project called SMART DISTRIBUTION LOGISTIK uses media logistics as exemplary field. The project was successfully completed in April 2020.

The media logistics sector is undergoing a radical change and, in the course thereof, fundamentally restructures its business processes. In this emerging field, the deployment of electric vehicles allows an optimization of delivery processes. The aim of the project SMART DISTRIBUTION LOGISTIK is to develop an adaptive ICT system platform that allows the deployment planning, management and optimization of mixed fleets. This is meant to be achieved in field trials where at least 40 electric vehicles in three mixed fleets will be planned, managed and optimized for long-term use for the delivery of regional and advertising papers and mail. The intelligent system solution is supposed to reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of the vehicles and especially of the electric vehicles so that they can be used economically from the very first year of deployment. 

After a successful application for the technology competition “ICT for Electric Mobility III” of the Federal Ministry of Economics, the consortium under the lead of DAKO started the project SMART DISTRIBUTION LOGISTIK in May 2017. The included funding approval is worth a value of approximately EUR 4 million over three years for the implementation, whereas the total volume of the research and development project reaches almost EUR 7 million.

After a successful application for the technology competition “ICT for Electric Mobility III” of the Federal Ministry of Economics, the consortium under the lead of DAKO started the project SMART DISTRIBUTION LOGISTIK in May 2017. The included funding approval is worth a value of approximately EUR 4 million over three years for the implementation, whereas the total volume of the research and development project reaches almost EUR 7 million. The project consortium can look back on a successful three-year development period and demonstrate results both from the perspective of the development activity and the marketing efforts realised during the project period. In this respect, the development results are offered on the market in an independent product. In this way, a wide range of users from the logistics sector can benefit from the optimisation functions and, in particular, the TCO-based evaluation model for the economical use of electric vehicles. In addition, the solution created will be further developed in the follow-up project SMART MULTI-USE LOGISTIK.

Apart from DAKO, the consortium consists of four other IT and logistics companies from Thuringia and Saxonia as well as Erfurt University of Applied Sciences and the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena.


Intelligent Cargo Processing

A good driver feels during the journey if the weight distribution of the load is unfavourable and the vehicle, therefore, runs unevenly. If the balance is too disturbed, the driver is forced to stop and correct the load. Fully autonomous transport will have to do without this feeling in the future. To make full use of the potential of autonomous vehicles, automation and integrated digitalisation of the freight process is necessary.

In preparation for autonomous driving, DAKO GmbH is already focusing on these challenges. In the ICAP research project, an intelligent system and multi-sensor platform is to be developed that covers and links all process steps in the logistics and freight process.

Together with project partner HAVI Logistics GmbH, a demonstrator in the form of a trailer with appropriate sensor technology is planned, in order to test the developed IT modules in the daily business of food logistics. First of all, the data from the cargo hold will be recorded in real-time using sensors, including the goods to be transported and the means of securing them. This forms the basis for digital dynamic loading and route planning, which takes into account extensive factors, e.g. ordered goods and return flow of goods, customer-specific time windows, driving and rest periods, optimum use of loading space, vehicle selection and concepts for freight space allocation, e.g. according to temperature zones. Irrespective of autonomously driving trucks, the planned functions of the system platform can already considerably support and improve freight processes today and provide for an integrated digitalisation of the process chain.

With HAVI Logistics GmbH, DAKO has gained a practice partner for the project who provides an ideal research environment for autonomous freight handling. The processes of food logistics place high demands on the system to be developed, such as uniform loading equipment, e.g. lattice boxes and Euro pallets in connection with frequent tour stops and concrete requirements on the transport environment (cooling zones). After completion of the project, the platform can also be scaled for other branches of logistics. The project started in April 2018 and will run for 3 years.


Digital Load Carrier Processing

It is estimated that there are about 500 million pallets and 10 million locking bars in circulation in Europe. This is only a small part of the total quantity of loading aids, the number of which is also constantly increasing due to the increasing volume of transport. The non-transparent movement of loading aids in the logistics ecosystem also makes a detailed overview difficult. With regard to autonomous freight processes, DAKO has therefore also set itself the goal of creating an interconnected narrowband IoT system solution for the efficient tracking and management of loading aids in the DCAP research project.

In addition to the difficult to manage distribution and movement of the loading aids, there is a lack of sensitivity in dealing with them due to their comparatively low purchase value. The procurement, maintenance and use of loading aids for logistics companies are associated with considerable and constantly growing investment and follow-up costs as well as high organisational costs. Until recently, due to the high hardware costs of the available technologies and a lack of IT infrastructure, it was hardly possible to economically locate and track loading aids. 

This has changed with the new mobile radio technology Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT), which allows energy-efficient transmission of small amounts of data. The NB-IoT now provides the technical basis for the development of a system platform with hardware connected to it in order to collect data from loading aids efficiently and economically and to interconnect them for management purposes. 

With the help of the platform and the included database, the loading aids and their movement in the logistics ecosystem can be quantified and evaluated. This allows completely new business models and approaches for the accounting of loading aids to be developed based on the actual usage data. As a result, a higher-level system solution is to be created in which all loading aids are stored, monitored and brought into context with companies and driven tours.

Together with the project partner FALCOM GmbH, a sensor solution is to be developed which will be tested and validated by practice partners in the logistics ecosystem. FALCOM, as a well-known telematics hardware manufacturer, provides the necessary expertise for handling NB-IoT hardware. The collected operational data from the field tests form the basis for new billing models, which will be developed together with the project partner allsafe GmbH & Co. KG.


Digital development, production, logistics and transport for the aviation industry

As a pioneer of digitalisation, DAKO pursues the goal of supporting companies at all points of the supply chain with meaningful data and their interconnecting. Many companies do not fully exploit the potential of digitalisation. And even well-interconnected processes usually stop at the plant boundary. This is where DAKO comes into play with the DEPOT research project. Working with partners from industry and research, the project strives to make current planning and status information available across companies, and thus, improve the transparency of the entire flow of goods.

The project aims to develop a higher-level system platform that collects and consolidates real-time data for vehicles, load carriers and loads and makes it available to all those involved in the supply chain. This is to be achieved via standardized interfaces in the sense of the Internet of Things. In addition, the data obtained will be processed and evaluated accordingly to optimize the use of resources and increase the efficiency of logistics processes with the help of automated forecasts. The area of application is the direct procurement of the aircraft manufacturer Airbus in cooperation with the respective transport service providers. 

Project partners from various fields contribute their expertise to the joint project. In addition to the DAKO GmbH, which uses its know-how to link the data streams of outdoor positioning technologies and digital tachographs in the project, the following companies and institutions belong to the network: SAP SE, Liebheer (LII), Diehl Aviations (AOA), Favendo GmbH, Fraunhofer IFF and the Technical University of Hamburg (TUHH). The leader of the alliance is the Airbus Operations GmbH. The project started in January 2018 and will run for three years.

Collage aus Turbine, LKW und Flugzeug - Projekt Depot


DAKO promotes cultural projects and rural development. This includes future-oriented concepts which not only serve cost optimisation through the use of renewable energies, but also ease environmental problems such as air and noise pollution. In the project SMART CITY LOGISTIK, we developed an open system platform, which facilitates the most efficient use of electric vehicles within inner-city goods transport, together with partners from science and industry.

The Thuringian consortium started its project work in July 2013, after submitting a successful application within the framework of the technology competition “ICT for electromobility II” of the Federal Ministry of Economics, and thereby gained a funding approval worth a value of approximately EUR 4 million over the following three years for implementing the development concept. The total volume of the research and development project reached almost EUR 7 million.

Among the results of the project, trade and logistics companies have access to services tailored to electromobility-specific processes and linked to an internet platform for existing IT logistics systems for intelligent fleet management. With this research programme, new concepts and technologies were being developed, for the interplay between intelligent vehicle technology in the electric car (Smart Car) with energy supply (Smart Grid) and traffic control systems (Smart Traffic) based on information and communication technology (ICT).

The consortium consists of DAKO alongside 5 Thuringian IT and logistics companies, as well as Erfurt University of Applied Sciences and the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena.


DAKO was involved in the sMobilityCOM research project as part of the “ICT for Electric Mobility III” technology competition organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Over three years, DAKO, together with other project partners, developed an integrated and forward-looking charging and deployment management system for e-mobility-based cars and vehicle fleets.

The research project aimed to make the use of electric vehicles for outpatient care services more economical. The aim was to significantly reduce the electricity costs for the use of electric vehicles by, among other things, generating electricity from own sources, e.g. PV systems, and to digitally support and thus optimise fleet and charging management and monitoring. The developments of the research project were tested together with three application partners from the mobile and outpatient care sector. The care services were extensively supported by DAKO and other project partners in setting up and subsequently managing the electric fleets.

The result showed that in the care sector, an economic use on all tours is already possible today. In addition, the partners developed guidelines from the results of the project, including application concepts, intelligent energy management and e-vehicle selection, which support companies in the economical use of electric vehicles. The DAKO subproject in sMobilityCOM focused on the development of an IT platform which, through networking and optimisation, enables efficient interaction between vehicles, tour control and cost-optimised energy provision at the location.

sMobilityCOM brought together the bundled competences of six project partners: DAKO, envia Mitteldeutsche Energie AG, INNOMAN GmbH, Fraunhofer IOSB-AST, MCS MICRONIC Computer Systeme GmbH and HKW-Elektronik GmbH. The consortium leader of the research project was the INNOMAN GmbH.

You are interested in the platform which DAKO developed in this project? Our Key Account Management will be happy to provide you with information!

Kontaktfoto Alexander Rahtjen

Team Manager Key Account Management

Alexander Rahtjen


    eMobilityCity is a network for integrated electric mobility with the aim to move this issue forward within Thuringia. This is meant to be achieved by developing solutions for battery-charging, IT and consultancy systems as well as vehicles under one roof.

    After a successful application for the Central Innovation Programme for medium-sized enterprises (ZIM) the network started working in September 2015 and received a commitment of support for the following three years. Within these three years the network wanted to install 300 vehicles and 150 charging points in Erfurt and to integrate specific marketing and operator concepts.

    The network and its products profit from the results of former researches like SMART CITY LOGISTIK and sMobiliTy. In addition, there are several initiatives which support companies with the acquisition of electric vehicles. The first two initiatives are called ‘eFlotten-Initiative’ and ‘eMobilitäts-Initiative’. Especially companies that operate at least 5 electric vehicles are beneficiaries of this integrated service. But also interested regional companies will be supported and advised with fleet analysis and mobility analysis as well as with specific proposals of implementation.

    The following partners of the network also support the development of electric mobility in Thuringia: the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, DAKO, EcoLibro GmbH, eLOG Systembetrieb GmbH, EPSa GmbH, Capital of the Land of Thuringia Erfurt, the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Fraunhofer IOSB-AST, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, HKW-Elektronik GmbH, IMMS GmbH, Navimatix GmbH, pwp-systems GmbH, SWE Energie GmbH, TAF mobile GmbH and the Ilmenau University of Technology.


    The SMART CITY LOGISTIK Congress is a practice-oriented forum on the opportunities and challenges of electromobile logistics. The congress is the first forum of its size in Germany to focus on electric mobility in the commercial vehicle sector.

    Together with our partners from the completed projects SMART CITY LOGISTIK (SCL), SMART DISTRIBUTION LOGISTIK (SDL) and the current follow-up project SMART MULTI-USE LOGISTIK (SML), we are pursuing the goal of further advancing the acceptance and development of electric mobility in transport with this unique format.

    Originally developed from the results of the SMART CITY LOGISTIK research project, the forum has been bringing together researchers, vehicle developers and practitioners every year since 2013 and highlights various aspects of inner-city distribution transport. The focus is on the practical use of vehicles, new vehicle concepts, supporting technologies and software as well as loading technology.

    The central point of discussion at the congress is the question of how to economically use electronic commercial vehicles, but also, other topics such as the sustainable use of energy and the development of holistic logistics concepts. Manufacturers, users and scientists shed light on the topic from various perspectives in specialist lectures. The congress also offers various workshops in which new approaches to electromobile logistics are discussed and developed.

    On the premises at the respective venue in Thuringia, participants are also able to explore and test a large selection of electric vehicles on site and build up useful networks to make progress with their own projects.

    DAKO Kompass Logistik 4.0

    Publikum in der DAKO-Cafeteria beim 1. Kompass Logistik 4.0

    Next event:

    Date: 12. October 2021
    Topic: Compliance

    Language: German

    Digitalisation is changing our world sustainably and at ever shorter intervals. This also opens up enormous potential for the logistics sector, which is not always apparent at first glance. With the “DAKO Kompass Logistik 4.0” (Compass Logistics 4.0), we would like to provide interested parties with concrete access to digitisation concepts and create orientation regarding future-oriented digital applications.

    In this user-oriented forum, we bring together digitalisation specialists and users to deal with current problems in everyday logistics. In thematic blocks, the event picks up on new developments for interconnectedness. Experts for digitalisation processes from various industries provide insights into their field of activity and present application-oriented best-practice examples. The integrated networking part offers all participants the opportunity to exchange ideas with potential partners and take away impulses for their company.

    With this series of events, we have set ourselves the goal of showing new concepts of interconnectedness in a tangible way and offering a platform for digital change.