Construction Technology 2021

DB mindbox is excited to announce the upcoming Construction Tech Batch – for the 5th time this year already. Our strong partners are DB Netz and DB Station & Service!

In 2021 we are focusing BIM-applications to fully leverage the strengths of digital construction processes along the life cycle, new construction technologies/materials for more efficient work on the sites and we place a special focus on herbicide-free vegetation control.

This 100 day signature program gives startups the chance to customize and live-test their solution to real challenges that DB is facing. What is in for you?

  • Access to DB experts and data
  • Access to a network of selected coaching and mentoring experts
  • EUR 25,000, no equity taken.


You will be supported by a dedicated DB mindbox startup manager and will have 24/7 access to our coworking space.

This is a great opportunity to lay the foundation for joint projects and successful long-term collaboration with Deutsche Bahn AG, Europe’s largest mobility and infrastructure provider.

Questions? Check out our FAQs.


Leveraging the Power of BIM

In our large scale construction projects internal and external planners are using BIM-technologies for railway stations and infrastructure. We would now like to explore the surrounding steps in the construction lifecycle for potential to contribute to or benefit from this BIM-planning. This can either be to better inform BIM from analytics on existing data, use BIM as a basis for more efficient construction site processes or operations after completion.

© Uwe Miethe © Uwe Miethe
Subsoil BIM

While superstructures are included in our BIM models, anything below ground isn’t. Can you help us to extend the coverage of our models below ground? Bring in your algorithms and/or sensing technologies to assess the soil and to feed the results directly into our BIM software.

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Skydeck
BIM Analytics

Can you check if BIM-models created by planners comply with (DB-internal) regulations? Can these regulations be automated to create BIM-cornerstones before the planning phase starts? Can one model reuse elements of another? Can you create tenders and/or compliant billing directly from the model? Bring in your analytics!

© Uwe Miethe
BIM for building operations

Planning and execution of construction work may be the hardest part – but operating a building is the longest. Can you help us use the data generated in models for operating buildings? Can you improve the data – during or after construction – to better support operating it?

© Volker Emersleben
Big Open BIM

Let’s think BIM BIG! Let’s use BIM models to discover potential sources of construction defects before they occur by walking around them virtually. Let’s integrate across platforms to keep a non-discriminating approach (legal requirement for us!). Let’s integrate across construction phases!


Construction technology disruption

By far the largest part of our construction work is undertaken in existing super- and substructures – and with a strong desire to maintain our train operations during construction of course! The focus is placed on noise protection barriers and cable troughs but we are open for more: bring your sensors, robots, new construction elements or whatever it takes to improve efficiency of our operations!

© Pablo Castagnola
Cable troughs

Two variants of troughs are used to protect power and signalling cables next to our tracks: concrete U-shaped plus lid level with the ground or plastic housings built on stilts. Can you demonstrate new ways of deploying troughs right beside our tracks to speed-up deployment? Or even deploy them without having to temporary block tracks at all?

© Max Lautenschläger
Machine sensing

For concrete cable troughs, rotary cutters dig trenches to start with. Can you install automated warning systems, to prevent machine operators from cutting into legacy cables in the ground? Or can you semi-automate installation processes like the vibration-based insertion of foundation piles by means of sensing?

© Volker Emersleben
Noise barrier foundations

One of our most complex and time-consuming operations is to lay foundations for noise protection barriers. Can you help us make them faster and more silent? Tubes of up to 12 meters are literally jammed into the ground today – right below our overhead wire installations! Can you find novel and innovative ways to lay those foundations employing new materials, robotics, sensing…you name it!

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Skydeck
Your call!

When you think of railway construction, do you have a solution we do not dare to think of until now? Bring it on, we love to test things!


Advanced solutions for herbicide-free vegetation control

As the operator of more than 60,000 km of track network in Germany, the Deutsche Bahn AG is obliged to carry out appropriate vegetation work for the maintenance and control of the vegetation condition. DB has committed itself to stop using glyphosate-based herbicides by 2023 and is therefore looking for innovative methods to control vegetation.

© Thomas H.

We are looking for any kind of technology for the automation of existing semi-autonomous or remote-controlled vehicles ("Mähraupe"). The main topics are: image evaluation (vegetation and obstacle detection), IT interfaces and connections as well as sensors.

© Deutsche Bahn AG / DB Schenker

Vegetation control can be supported by equipping approved track vehicles with additional robotics / technology. This requires expert knowledge of vegetation control, robotics and, if necessary, mechanical interfaces.

© Pablo Castagnola

Thermal processes such as lasers promise a high level of efficiency with a comparatively low impact on the environment. We are looking for any type of laser that is suitable for vegetation control. In addition to laser technology, this also includes suitable sensors and algorithms for weed detection.

© Jochen Schmidt
Combined solutions

Is there already a solution that combines two or even all three search fields?


Construction data analytics, sensors for guidance, new materials

On top of the 60 000 km of track network, DB Group is operating 5 400 train stations in Germany.

In this role

  • we are searching for ways to improve the management of our construction-project
  • we strive to further remove barriers to grant accessibility for everyone, and
  • we are constantly looking out for new powerful materials.
© Max Lautenschläger
Project progress analytics

Sometimes construction projects struggle to be completed in time…well, you know some iconic examples yourself. But how can we learn from the past? Can you analyze data of our past projects and identify the key factors to adjust during construction processes?

© Patrick Kuschfeld
Built-in intelligence for more accessibility

Travelers with disabilities can benefit from new sensing, AI-based and communication technologies. Help us integrate them physically into our train stations or platforms and virtually in client communication. Let's further minimize barriers to accessibility for everyone!

© Lothar Mantel
Material Tech for stations and construction sites

Self-cleaning, shock-absorbing, self-illuminating, friction-resistant…yet sustainable, durable, lightweight or extremely flexible? We know that material science is moving fast. Take us on your journey along the material revolution!



Application Deadline

Last day to apply for the program


Announcement of Candidates

Invitation of selected teams


Selection Day

Pitch your idea on stage to a jury and audience


Start of Program

Start of the 100 day PoC to develop and test a prototype in cooperation with DB


End of Program (tbc)

End of 100 day PoC and presentation of results