What is the objective?

The project ABSOLUT has been set up to investigate and demonstrate how networked, automated shuttle buses can be deployed in urban areas to carry passengers safely from A to B. The shuttles are to be integrated into the local public transport system and are designed for flexible 24/7 availability.

Who are the partners?

Principal project partners are: Apinauten GmbH, BitCtrl Systems GmbH, FSD Fahrzeugsystemdaten GmbH, glts cotech GmbH, IAV GmbH, Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH, Sedenius Engineering GmbH, the City of Leipzig and Technische Universität Dresden
Sub-contracted partners are: INAVET GmbH and Virtence GmbH
Associated partners are: BMW group Werk Leipzig and Leipziger Messe GmbH

Why was the development project set up?

1. Numerous projects which envisage automated shuttles for local public transport (LPT) already exist in Europe, also in Germany. However, none of these vehicles operate at the speeds necessary for proper LPT integration. ABSOLUT is thus intended to develop and test a service using vehicles with approval for operation in public traffic spaces at speeds of at least 50 km/h. For legal reasons, it will probably be necessary for a test driver to be present in the vehicles during the test period, but the aim is nevertheless for the vehicle to be capable of autonomous driving on the defined route.

2. An ambitious, integrated project of this kind is something unique in Germany: The combination of vehicle development, control center development, approval for operation in public traffic spaces (with maximum speeds up to 70 km/h) and further optimization of the transport service together with the customer is a highly complex endeavor.

3. The project brings together representatives of industry, science and municipal organizations which have never cooperated so closely or in this manner in the past. For the mainly Saxon partners, the project offers an opportunity to apply and expand existing competencies in the fields of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, and in this way to strengthen Saxony as an industrial and scientific location for the future.

4. Furthermore, action plan recommendations of the Free State of Saxony include promotion for the elaboration of concrete pilot projects addressing autonomous transport systems using compact buses, alongside other promising approaches and support measures for existing intraorganizational digitalization efforts. The project serves pursuit of this objective.

Where will the bus shuttles operate and who can use them?

The test route runs from the “Messe” suburban railway station to the BMW manufacturing plant. It thus serves primarily to expand mobility offers on the northern perimeter of Leipzig. Employees of our affiliated partner companies will be able to test the service from August 2022.

Has the project received government funding?

Yes, project applications were submitted by ten partners, coordinated by Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH as the consortium leader. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy approved funding amounting to EUR 10 million.