€10.9m grant kick-starts German AV project

Government-backed Kelride seeks to integrate autonomous vehicles into public transport
Detection, Monitoring & Machine Vision / April 15, 2021
By Ben Spencer
Kelride EasyMile shuttle Via Department of Traffic System Planning P3 weather-proof autonomous vehicles Germany
Kelride service will consist of EasyMile shuttles (image credit: EasyMile)

A project seeking to introduce autonomous transport in Germany has begun with the handover of €10.9 million from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

The Kelride project members such as the Department of Traffic System Planning and P3 will work together to integrate autonomous vehicles (AV) that can operate under all weather conditions into the public transport network in the Kelheim district, north of Munich. 

A statement issued by Kelride says adverse weather conditions such as heavy snowfall, rain or fog limit autonomous mobility solutions. 

The project will clarify the extent to which the use of existing sensor technologies and software solutions for vehicle control and intelligent fleet management can achieve all-weather suitability in typical central European weather conditions.

The on-demand shared ride service will consist of electric and highly autonomous shuttles provided by EasyMile

It will facilitate and enhance connectivity between on-demand rides and the existing public transport network within the same booking, Kelride adds. 

Kelheim’s district administrator Martin Neumeyer says: “The knowledge we gain from KelRide serves as a possible solution for comparable mobility systems in other areas in order to ensure the regional accessibility of the population in the long term.”

Management consultancy P3 is applying its resources to help develop the concept of the project as a blueprint for other municipalities.

Marco Dargel, P3’s partner for autonomous driving, says: “We believe a very well thought-out basic principle can serve as a scalable blueprint for a large number of cities and counties across Germany.”

The Department of Traffic System Planning and Traffic Telematics at the Technical University of Berlin are simulating mobility behaviour in the district. They are using models to investigate the effects of various shuttle concepts using the agent-based traffic simulation system MATSim (multi-agent transport simulation). 

Via is to optimise booking, routing, assignment of passengers and vehicles, customer experience, and fleet management.

Valerie von der Tann, Via general manager Germany, says: "On-demand, autonomous solutions within the framework of public transport will represent a great opportunity to radically improve access to mobility and to ensure the connection.”

Additionally, TÜV Rheinland is to research and test methods and processes for the testability of the system. The certification body will carry out all tests required for the planned road approval and support communication with the approval authorities.

The project will run until the end of 2023. 

For more information on companies in this article