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Automated MAN electric bus for Munich

Visualisation of the project with a MAN Lion's City 12 E | © MAN

As part of the MINGA research project, an automated electric bus of the type “MAN Lion’s City 12 E” will be used on line 144 of the Munich MVG in the Olympic Park from 2025, according to MAN. The line is popular with tourists on the one hand and leisure traffic on the other.

So far, autonomous buses have been so-called “minibuses”, which could only take a few passengers and – due to the current legal situation – could drive faster, but in fact were only allowed to travel at very low speeds. So now the step to the “full-grown bus”.

MAN cites two reasons that must lead to the autonomous bus. One is the shortage of drivers, which will not decrease, but on the contrary increase. And secondly, the costs for public transport are rising so sharply that in times of empty public coffers it is imperative to reduce costs so that public transport does not become unaffordable. MAN: “With autonomous buses, operating costs can be reduced by up to 50 %.”

For some time already, a MAN Lion’s City 12 E has been in use on line 144 of the Munich MVG, here at Scheidplatz. 21 articulated vehicles have been ordered for delivery before the end of 2023. The automated e-buses will operate on line 144, too | © Budach

The automated bus will essentially be fully autonomous, but there will still be a “safety driver” on board for critical situations (“autonomous driving level 4”). For this purpose, the bus will be equipped with an intelligent “Automated Driving System (ADS)” with highly sophisticated sensor technology. In tests currently underway, the bus is already driving to its stops completely autonomously.

Around a dozen partners are involved in the MINGA project. First, of course, there is the supplier of the vehicle, MAN. But there is also the mobility department of the City of Munich, the University of Stuttgart, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Research Centre for Information Technology (FZI), the DB subsidiary ioki, the Dutch electric bus manufacturer Ebusco, Benz + Walter GmbH and Fryce GmbH.

As part of the funding guideline “Autonomous and Connected Driving in Public Transport”, project MINGA is supported by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) with approximately 13 million euros.

Dr. Martin Schreiner, Head of the Strategy Division of the Munich Mobility Department, accepted the funding certificate for the MINGA project from Federal Transport Minister Dr Volker Wissing | © BMDV