The project partners will work together testing the interaction between roadside infrastructure, cloud-based software services and autonomous electric vehicles. Two types of vehicles will be used to research the interplay of intelligent infrastructure and vehicles: a highly automated single-seat car (Renault Twizzy) and a shuttle bus. For the tests, utility poles along the route have been equipped with laser scanners, radar units and cameras to monitor the overall traffic environment and precisely locate the vehicles.
According to Siemens Mobility CEO Michael Peter, the research project has a focus on testing the first and last mile in a multimodal mobility mix that includes autonomous vehicles. In such a constellation, the infrastructure is regarded as a critical component for providing secure and efficient on-demand transportation in urban and rural areas.
Providing an adequate spectrum of sustainable mobility options is a key responsibility of cities and municipalities. Strengthening and expanding public transport offerings is essential for serving the growing mobility demands of urban populations. The project, “Optimized transport system based on autonomous driving electric vehicles” (OTS 1.0), is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU). It aims to develop a system that provides autonomous driving options for the first and last mile of a journey, a need that is often neglected today.
Throughout the project, the partners will demonstrate how autonomous electric vehicles can improve road safety and efficiency while operating at the highest Level 5 autonomy, with no driver intervention. To achieve this, the intelligent infrastructure continually feeds vehicles with comprehensive information, such as general traffic conditions and data about other vehicles operating along the route. This approach supports autonomous vehicles in complex traffic situations.
With external support, the monitored operating radius of a self-driving vehicle can be significantly expanded. The smart infrastructure enables vehicles to quickly identify potential traffic risks and respond accordingly. As a result, the integrated system helps optimize traffic flows. The system’s vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (V2I) operates via the standardized and extensively tested WLANp (ITS-G5) – an RF technology also supported by most Western carmakers. The system is supplemented by software solutions that enable traffic managers in a traffic control center to closely monitor the traffic situation, and intervene if necessary. To improve the passenger experience, passengers in the self-driving vehicles can download their route itinerary with an app.
The research project will bring together experts from various disciplines. The Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM) manages legal issues relating to autonomous driving and, together with Siemens Mobility, researches operator and business models that are derived from technical developments. Engineering services provider IAV is developing a prototype for barrier-free, autonomously operating shuttles. TU Munich is using microscopic simulations to study the impact of different forms of autonomous driving on traffic. As part of a study on public acceptance, the Berlin-based project development bureau, UTB, is investigating how people react to autonomous vehicles and how technological developments must take this into account. Emm Solutions GmbH is providing its highly automated ILO1 electric vehicle to help improve monitoring the environment, the vehicle’s geopositioning and communication management between vehicle and infrastructure.
Driving behavior will also be simulated. Siemens Mobility is responsible for the overall project integration as well as the roadside infrastructure and cloud-based software services. It will also evaluate various potential business and operating models.