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Pilot vehicle on public roads for the first time after approval. 6 chairs or institutes of the TU Dresden are involved in the project.
In order to fully integrate minibuses that have been converted for automated driving into local transport services in suburban areas, a number of prerequisites must be met. The technologies required for this on the part of the vehicle and infrastructure are being researched in the Saxon innovation project ABSOLUT* since the beginning of 2019 (until 30 September 2022) with the participation of the TU Dresden. The safe and demand-oriented transport of passengers is a decisive factor. The project on automated driving, which has a total budget of 18.3 million euros (including 10 million euros in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action), is one of only a few in Europe that address the technological advancement to speeds suitable for public transport (over 40 km/h). The aim is to enable competitive travel times in public transport compared to the prevailing individual traffic.
In addition to the scientific and technical management of the project, the researchers at the TU Dresden are focusing on the realisation of automated driving with corresponding sensors, algorithms and vehicle concepts and on researching the required infrastructure and its networking with the vehicles.
At the end of February, the project entered an important phase: the testing of automated driving functions on public roads on the 7-kilometre test route from the suburban tran station Leipzig Trade Fair to the BMW Group plant in Leipzig. After completion of all conversion and expansion work on the first test vehicle - a VW e-Crafter - in September 2021, the Saxony State Office for Road Construction and Transport issued a trial permit. With this and the approval by DEKRA in January 2022, the application of driving automation has now started as planned.
Pilot test with passengers planned for 2nd half of the year
The first manoeuvres were already tested at the end of January on the circuit around the artificial lake of the Leipzig Trade Fair. Further application tests will run until the summer. This will be accompanied by an investigation of user acceptance of automated bus services. By the end of the second quarter of 2022, the vehicle should have "learned" automated driving on the entire route, so that tests with selected passengers can be carried out in the last quarter of the project.
"ABSOLUT has reached a technological milestone that goes far beyond this project and will further advance Germany in the important future topic of automated driving," is how Christian Liebich, officer at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action, classifies the project and its significance.
* The acronym ABSOLUT stands for "Automatic bus shuttle self-organising between Leipzig and the BMW terminal".
Further information on the project:
- Facts and figures of the project on the TU Dresden website
- Blog post with interviews on "L Leipziger" of the LVV Leipziger Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH (only in German)
- Video and text by mdr Wissen: In the week from 21 to 25 February 2022, the team of mdr-Wissen accompanied the work on the project (only in German)
The ABSOLUT partner consortium
From industry, municipalities and research at a glance (in alphabetical order):
BitCtrl Systems GmbH, BMW Group, DB Schenker, EASY ApiOmat GmbH, FSD Fahrzeugsystemdaten GmbH, glts-cotech GmbH, INAVET GmbH, IAV GmbH, Leipziger Messe GmbH, Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe (LVB) GmbH, Sedenius Engineering GmbH, Stadt Leipzig, Technische Universität Dresden, Virtence GmbH.
ABSOLUT project enters next test phase (in German)
Participating partners within the TU Dresden
- From the "Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffc Sciences:
> Chair of Vehicle Mechatronics
> Chair of Traffic Process Automation
> Chair of Transport Systems Information Technology
> Chair of Automobile Engineering
- Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology (Faculty of Mechanical Science and Engineering)
- Chair of Computer Graphics and Visualization (Faculty of Computer Science)
Contact at TU Dresden
Dr.-Ing. Steffen Kutter, Project Manager
Chair of Vehicle Mechatronics
"Friedrich List” Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences
ABSOLUT has reached a technological milestone that goes far beyond this project and will further advance Germany in the important future topic of automated driving.