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Pilot

SmartShuttle

SmartShuttle
Location
Sion, Switzerland
Date
Started
Length
3 km
Project details

What

The PostAuto SmartShuttle long term pilot is a first step to integrating self-driving buses in the public transportation system of Sion by 2020. Buses drive five days a week on an open road (3km track) and in pedestrian zones. Along its route they encounter two traffic lights, intersections, two roundabouts and interact with mixed traffic on public streets. They follow a schedule and have a fixed route with 14 stops which are station based. The shuttles are wheelchair accessible.

Why

The aim of this project is to test the integration of AVs in public transportation systems in order to eventually provide a first/last mile solution. This pilot has allowed PostAuto to learn about customer acceptation (e.g. authorities, cities, passengers, etc.), the technical feasibility of AVs and how to integrate AVs in existing public transportation system.

© PostAuto. Smartshuttle.

© PostAuto. Smartshuttle.

Regulatory Framework

AV tests require special permissions, which are dependent on the timeframe, track, etc. Public law requires that there must always be a safety driver present on board on open road, so that he/she can constantly monitor the traffic and the vehicle.

Challenges

Some of the challenges experienced include: receiving permission from authorities, technical efforts needed to ensure daily operation and frequent road closing due to construction sites and events on track.

Results & Evaluation

Until now 43,000 passengers have been transported with an average of 75 people per day. Every day between 20 and 40km have been travelled at an average operational speed of 8km/h. The customers satisfaction is high and no accidents have occurred so far.

© PostAuto. Smartshuttle - Route

© PostAuto. Smartshuttle - Route

Associated Research

Research is being conducted at Mobility Lab (by EPFL Lausanne, HESSO, City of Sion, Canton Valais, Swiss Post).

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Next initiative

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Lexicon

7 words explained

platooning

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.

urban setting

High density environment with an efficient high capacity public transport system with good capillarity and high frequencies.

suburban setting

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 cities

Small, isolated city with an own public transport system and <100K inhabitants.

rural

Low-density environment, small cities and villages with poor public transport services mainly connecting the villages.

SAE level

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.

V2X

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication is the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.