Autonomous driving is thus considered a great opportunity for rural public transport, as driverless operation can save enormous costs.In order to fully integrate minibuses that have been converted for automated driving into the local public transport system, a number of requirements must be fulfilled. The technologies required for this on the part of the vehicle and infrastructure are being developed in the Saxon innovation project ABSOLUT.
Automated driving in Leipzig - Saxon innovation project ABSOLUT enters the next test phase
Autonomous driving is thus considered a great opportunity for rural public transport, as driverless operation can save enormous costs.In order to fully integrate minibuses that have been converted for automated driving into the local public transport system, a number of requirements must be fulfilled. The technologies required for this on the part of the vehicle and infrastructure are being developed in the Saxon innovation project ABSOLUT. This project is a central component of future mobility and is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The shortcut ABSOLUT stands for "Automatic bus shuttle self-organizing between Leipzig and the BMW terminal". The electric mini bus moves self-driving within a defined route. Without extra lanes and driver intervention - the shuttle simply blends in with the traffic.
Mini buse without a driver
At the end of February, the project entered an important phase. With the implementation of the ABSOLUT project, Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe (LVB) is planning a test route between the S-Bahn stop at the Leipzig trade fair and the BMW factory. The self-driving bus is to ensure good connections around the clock, and can be booked via a user app. The first trials were conducted at the end of January on the circuit around the Messesee in front of the Leipzig trade fair. Further application tests will run until the summer. At the same time, user acceptance of automated bus services is also being evaluated. After that, the pilot test with passengers will start.
In addition to the work on the vehicle, most of the traffic signals on the line have also been upgraded. This includes the conversion of eleven traffic signal systems to ensure communication between the vehicle and the traffic signal system. The newly created control center has already been successfully connected to the (LVB) and the phones of the test users.There are a large number of demonstration and test projects in Europe with slow (less than 20 km/h) automated shuttles in local public transport. However, only a few of these projects address the technological development to speeds suitable for public transport (faster than 50 km/h) in order to enable competitive travel times compared to private transport.The full integration of vehicles into the public transport world as a new additional transport service was also defined as a development goal in this unique project.
"With the ABSOLUT project, we have succeeded in bringing together numerous innovation partners in order to efficiently put new solutions on the road for our customers. In this way, we want to make new offers possible for the people of Leipzig and shape the Leipzig transport turnaround in a sustainable way," says Ulf Middelberg, speaker of the management board of Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe.
"The know-how in Saxony is remarkable. Transport researchers, vehicle and software developers, specialists in transport telematics, computer scientists and electrical engineers - they all pull together in the ABSOLUT project. Together, we are developing, investigating and demonstrating how networked, automated shuttle buses can be used in suburban areas to transport passengers safely. The shuttles are to be integrated into the public transport system, are designed for flexible 24-hour operation, and are to be available seven days a week in regular operation later on," explains Mario Nowack, ABSOLUT project manager for LVB.
Until customers will one day be able to call this vehicle via app, it will still take a few years - the project managers are currently aiming for 2030.