Nationwide pilot test: First results from tests with autonomous mini-buses

The nationwide first test with self-driving mini buses – without predefined routes and at the request of customers – has shown researchers the first opportunities for improvement. “This includes, for example, increasing the maximum speed of such vehicles as well as better anticipation or prediction of the traffic in order to be able to pass intersections more quickly,” said Prof. J. Marius Zöllner from the FZI Research Center for Information Technology.

For a better driving experience, the safety distance that such a shuttle needs around it has to be smaller. “We applied it very conservatively in the project and then noticed in practice that this leads to more restless driving behavior for the passengers because more frequent stops are made to be on the safe side.”

From April 22nd to the end of June and on the July weekends, the three mini-buses “Ella”, “Vera” and “Anna” were on the road in Karlsruhe at a maximum speed of 20 km. What is special about the local transport model project funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport: In contrast to other shuttle projects in Germany, they did not roll on a specified route, but navigated freely and on demand – from the front door to the tram stop, to the nearest shop or simply for a round tour Quarter.

93 percent feel safe

A spokeswoman for the Karlsruhe transport company announced that a good 1200 passengers had used the offer on 750 trips. Up to 35 people a day. From grandparents who went on an excursion with grandchildren, to professors, everything was there. A mother regularly picked up her child from daycare by shuttle.

A survey showed that 93 percent felt safe while driving and wanted to use such shuttles again. Driving as needed – without a fixed timetable – was rated very positively. Almost three quarters of the participants believed that such vehicles could improve the traffic situation. (dpa / gem)

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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