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Electric and autonomous: Innovation project ABSOLUT started passenger test phase

In front of the ABSOLUT pilot vehicle (from left to right): Mario Nowack - ABSOLUT Project Manager at LVB, Petra Peterhänsel - Head of BMW Group Plant Leipzig, Ulf Middelberg - Spokesman of the Management Board of Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe | © Leipziger Gruppe

The Saxonian innovation project ABSOLUT started the test phase with passengers. After completion of the test vehicle, granting of the test drive permit and the development of the driving automation, the exclusive pilot test with employees of the ABSOLUT partner companies in the north of Leipzig, such as BMW Group Werk Leipzig and Leipziger Messe, began last month.

“Together with our project partners, the city of Leipzig and the Central German business community, we are now entering the final development phase with the passenger test. With this, we want to provide further innovation impulses for the business location, generate findings for research and development and thus help shape the future of mobility,” says Ulf Middelberg, spokesman for the management board of Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe.

In a four-week test, 50 employees of the companies will test the vehicle, automated driving and ordering via app to gain further insights. For the test, a customer app was created to order the vehicle and display numerous added values, such as map views and a CO2 saving. The experiences are to be incorporated into a further research and development project: among other things, findings for setting up a control centre to monitor the automated vehicles and for communication between the various systems, including the twelve traffic lights along the test route. After official DEKRA approval, the pilot vehicle is travelling at a maximum speed of 50 km/h in the north of Leipzig; higher speeds will only be possible in a further development step. From Tuesdays to Thursdays, the electric bus will serve a route between the Leipzig Trade Fair Centre and the BMW plant from 1 pm to 5 pm.

“As the BMW Group Plant Leipzig, we are pursuing the goal of strengthening the sustainable development of local public transport in the north of Leipzig together with the participants in the project consortium. We want to achieve improved connections to the public transport network for our employees, visitors and customers and support the development of innovative mobility concepts. A project like the autonomously driving bus shuttle ABSOLUT makes a valuable contribution to this,” says Petra Peterhänsel, Plant Manager BMW Group Plant Leipzig.

The goal of the project: the combination of vehicle development, control centre development, approval for operation in public traffic areas (with maximum speeds of up to 70 km/h) and integration into local public transport. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. In the ABSOLUT consortium of industry, municipalities and research, the Leipzig partners EASY ApiOmat GmbH, BitCtrl Systems GmbH, glts-cotech GmbH, Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe (LVB) GmbH, Sedenius Engineering GmbH, Verkehrs- und Tiefbauamt der Stadt Leipzig and Virtence GmbH are working closely with other partners from Saxony, such as Technische Universität Dresden, IAV GmbH, FSD Fahrzeugsystemdaten GmbH and INAVET GmbH. The associated partners Leipziger Messe GmbH and BMW Group Werk Leipzig support the project from the user perspective.

“With our partners, we offer passengers not only a convenient ordering experience via app, but also a safe journey to their destinations. This will continue to be ensured by a safety driver who will be present as well as remote monitoring via the control centre. Through the practical test, we hope to gain numerous experiences in order to further improve the service and advance automation in local public transport,” says Mario Nowack, ABSOLUT project manager at Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe.

More information at www.absolut-projekt.de

Ther ABSOUT project – objectives and positioning:
  • Definition of type-approval rules and homologation procedures
  • 24/7 user-friendly on-demand service
  • Wide usage range and high reasonability (through minimized needs for infrastructure support)
  • Operation in public mixed traffic areas (track length 7 km)
  • Customary speeds inside the operational areas
  • Latest sensor technologies and high level of automatization

Additional information at: www.absolut-projekt.de