Research into automated on-demand transport solutions for Leipzig's public transport system in suburban areas. Transport sciences at TU Dresden are consortium partners.

"Individual public transport for the outskirts of Leipzig through the use of autonomous on-demand shuttles" is what the ABSOLUT research and development project stands for. It is part of the "MobiLE" strategy of Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe (LVB). As part of a project consortium, the aim is to create automated on-demand transport solutions in the outskirts of Leipzig by 2026 and dovetail them with the high-performance public transport services in the city center. The foundations were laid in the first project phase ABSOLUT I between 2019 and 2022. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) is now funding the continuation as ABSOLUT II. In the second phase, further steps are to be taken towards the later regular operation of automated transport services. The project kick-off took place on November 13, 2023 in Dresden.

"With the technology program "Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Electromobility", the federal government is promoting key technologies for the upcoming challenges of the energy and transport transition. With ABSOLUT II, we are continuing the success story of the Central German partner consortium in order to drive forward local public transport as a whole with the help of digitalization," says Christian Liebich, project manager of the "ICT for electromobility" technology programme at BMWK.

Participations of TU Dresden

TU Dresden serves as the central research centre for the project. The following chairs, three of which are from the "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, are involved in ABSOLUT II:

While the predecessor project ABSOLUT I developed and built the overall system of a highly automated, demand-driven public transport landscape and evaluated it by means of trials with test subjects, ABSOLUT II is now set to solve a central problem: The previous safety driver in the vehicle is to be replaced by a stationary technical supervisor in a control center, in accordance with the law on autonomous driving, thus enabling remote vehicle access. All interfaces between the system components are to be developed with the partners in the project on a manufacturer-neutral and open basis.

"The overall objective of the ABSOLUT project is in line with the City of Leipzig's mobility strategy, with which we are significantly strengthening sustainable mobility. The standardized provision of data from the city can make a significant contribution to the automation of traffic in public spaces," says Thomas Dienberg, Construction Mayor of Leipzig.

In the follow-up project, a total of ten partners from industry, local authorities and research are working on a technical solution that, when completed, will enable several vehicles to be managed by one employee, thus opening up real scaling potential. Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe is acting as consortium leader and is pooling the work of the following partners:

  • Advanced Navigation Solutions - ANavS GmbH
  • BitCtrl Systems GmbH
  • FSD - Zentrale Stelle
  • glts cotech GmbH
  • IKEM - Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility
  • INIT GmbH
  • Sedenius Engineering GmbH
  • City of Leipzig
  • TU Dresden, in particular the Faculty "Friedrich List" Transport and Traffic Sciences

Other associated partners are Leipziger Messe and the BMW Group Leipzig plant.

"By bundling innovations, we want to provide further impetus for the business location, generate digitalization knowledge and innovations for local public transport and thus help shape the future of public mobility," says Ulf Middelberg, CEO of Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe.

The ABSOLUT II project will run until 2026 and has a total volume of around 12 million euros.

Areas of responsibility for TU Dresden researchers within the project

Dr. Steffen Kutter, head of the "Automated Driving and Driving Strategies" department at the Chair of Vehicle Mechatronics at TU Dresden, outlines the main tasks of TU Dresden within ABSOLUT II:

"We in the Department of Automated Driving and Driving Strategies have set the goal for our research of overcoming the remaining technical hurdles to the nationwide automation of public transport and logistics - both for urban areas and, in particular, for rural areas, which have received little attention to date. Only then can we use technology to solve the social challenges of securing mobility and democratizing the availability of mobility - always, everywhere, without discrimination - for everyone. In addition to sensor technology, sample data sets and automated driving functions for these use cases (WalemoBASE, ABSOLUT I), our current focus is on the automation of the depot (IDEA) and the still missing maneuver interface for technical supervision in accordance with the law on autonomous driving; the latter, together with the implementation of the corresponding control center, represents the core content of ABSOLUT II. Only then will truly driverless operation be possible in compliance with the law."



Quelle: Presseinformation der Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe

Significance of the ABSOLUT project

ABSOLUT II addresses the problem of replacing the existing safety driver in the vehicle with a stationary technical supervisor in a control centre in accordance with the law on autonomous driving and providing the necessary technology in the control centre, communication with the vehicle and the required interfaces. Only when such an approved technical solution is available can several autonomous vehicles be supervised by one person. ABSOLUT II thus lays the foundation for scaling up automated local public transport economically and achieving broad social added value for securing mobility even in previously uneconomical areas.

ABSOLUT = acronym for: "Automatic bus shuttle self-organized between Leipzig and the BMW terminal".

ABSOLUT project enters next test phase

It keeps to the ideal line, never gets tired and has razor-sharp vision: the VW e-Crafter, which is on the road for the ABSOLUT project.

Contact at TU Dresden

Dr.-Ing. Steffen Kutter

Project Manager
Chair of Vehicle Mechatronics
„Friedrich List“ Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences



With ABSOLUT II, we are continuing the success story of the Central German partner consortium to drive forward local public transport as a whole with the help of digitalization

Christian Liebich