Mission to SPACE completed: UITP’s automated vehicles project draws to a close
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
- 5 October 2021
This pilot project from Public Transport Operator (PTO) Transports Publics Fribourgeois (TPF) has been designed to be presented as an official line (line 100). It is included in the official TPF schedule and tries to imitate live conditions as much as possible. It operates Monday to Friday from 6:30 to 18:30. Shuttles follow a fixed circuit, come every 30 minutes and have four stops. They are wheelchair accessible. Along their route they encounter mixed traffic on public streets.
These autonomous shuttles are a potential solution to the first/last mile problem while keeping costs low. The pilot in itself allows TPF to try out their autonomous shuttles, position themselves in the future of mobility, test the integration of the shuttle into the existing public transport network and study the users’ acceptance.
The budget of this pilot is 1,500,000 CHF. The Canton of Fribourg bought one vehicle. Marly Innovation Center (owner of the site where the vehicles partly circulate) bought the other vehicle. The Agglomeration of Fribourg and TPF covered the costs of exploitation. The Commune of Marly covered the costs of necessary infrastructures (signage, etc.)
Several autonomous vehicles pilots are currently taking place in Switzerland. Permits are being issued by the Federal Office of Roads.
The pilot has faced some challenges including maintaining the planned number of routes per day, dealing with the changing vegetation, adapting to different weather conditions as well as responding to other drivers’ reaction towards the shuttle on the road.
Until now 5,000 passengers have been transported with an average of 20 people per day. The total distance travelled so far is 15,100km (average of 90km per day) on an average operational speed of 9km/h. 80% of the interviewed people said they felt safe using the shuttle.
Research associated with the pilot include several analysis studies of the functional security, the electric consumption (heating, air conditioning) and the charging requirements (frequency, optimisation). Some of the aspects that need to be improved include diversion from the trajectory due to a loss of localisation, some software issues, the shorter autonomy (8 hours) when using the heating or air conditioning, the rapid degradation of the tires and the vehicle’s suspensions.
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
The SPACE Final Conference will take place on 30 September.
Also known as flocking. A collection of (automated) vehicles that travel together, actively coordinated in formation. Platoons decrease the distances between vehicles using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling. Platooning allows many vehicles to accelerate or brake simultaneously.
High density environment with an efficient high capacity public transport system with good capillarity and high frequencies.
Medium density environment with a good public transport system with radial connections to the city center, but lower capillarity and frequencies. This setting includes suburban cities.
Small, isolated city with an own public transport system and <100K inhabitants.
Low-density environment, small cities and villages with poor public transport services mainly connecting the villages.
The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) levels define the level of vehicle autonomy, or in other words, how much human intervention is still needed for an automated vehicle to operate. Currently, five SAE levels have been defined: Level 0: Automated system issues warnings and may momentarily intervene but has no sustained vehicle control. Level 1 (hands on): Driver and automatic system share vehicle control. The driver must be ready to retake full control at any time. Level 2 (hands off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 3 (eyes off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 4 (mind off): As level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety, e.g. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver's seat. Level 5 (steering wheel optional): No human intervention is required at all. An example would be a robotic taxi.
Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication is the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.