A press event was organized on the grounds of the Leipzig BMW Group plant on October 12th to mark the start of the project’s test phase with passengers. For the journalists, this was a perfect opportunity to discuss the latest developments with project contributors and even to take a ride on the ABSOLUT shuttle bus themselves.
After the completion of fitting-out work on the test vehicle, granting of the necessary approvals for test operation and appropriate further development of the driving automation, the exclusive pilot test with staff from ABSOLUT partner companies such as BMW Group Leipzig and Leipziger Messe commenced in mid-October.
Some 50 test passengers were asked to provide feedback on the vehicle, the automated driving experience and use of the shuttle request app. The insights gained from the testing enabled the project team to further optimize the control center developed to monitor the automated vehicles, as well as communication between the various component systems. At the same time, important know-how was gathered to facilitate the upgrading of twelve sets of traffic lights along the test route. These lights were then integrated into the overall set-up for automated operation over the course of the project. Experience gathered during test operation is also to serve as the basis for a further research and development project.
“Together with our partners, we are able to offer passengers not only a convenient means to access services via an app, but also a safe journey to their destinations. Safety is guaranteed by the continued presence of a driver who can intervene in critical situations, alongside remote monitoring via the control center. The results of the practical tests will contribute significantly to further improvement of the service capabilities, and help us to advance automation in local public transport,” said Mario Nowack, ABSOLUT project manager at Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe.