“Please get on board!” The potential for autonomous buses in urban areas is enormous in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO), personnel deployment and benefits for all city dwellers. MAN Truck & Bus is therefore working intensively on the automation of its buses. To this end, the commercial vehicle manufacturer is taking off with the autonomous driving technology specialist Mobileye at its side: With one of the leading developers of technologies for autonomous driving solutions, MAN Truck & Bus is entering into a smart cooperation over several steps in order to consistently pursue its roadmap, at the end of which is highly automated driving in city buses that is ready for series production. The first joint goal of MAN and Mobileye: pilot operation of the first automated city bus with a safety driver is planned from 2025 as part of the MINGA research project in Munich.
“The fact that urban bus mobility in the future will not only be emission-free and connected, but also automated, is not a general question, but merely a question of time,” says Barbaros Oktay, Head of Bus at MAN Truck & Bus. “MAN Truck & Bus has therefore strategically positioned itself through the cooperation with Mobileye in such a way that we can jointly set the decisive milestones on our further path to the automation of the city bus.”
With the cooperation, MAN Truck & Bus is intensifying the automation of the city bus. Drivers for automated driving in the city bus sector are mainly high TCO savings and the shortage of driving personnel, which can be countered by this. At the same time, more and more smaller means of transport, starting with passenger cars, are starting to enter the market with highly automated driving. Highly automated driverless solutions in urban areas have a significantly improved economic efficiency compared to driver-assisted offers and provide safe and reliable mobility for its users. In addition, with largely automated, connected and emission-free urban transport, city dwellers benefit from better air quality, less congestion and noise, and the gain of living space that is no longer needed for parking.
Smart cooperation with a clear roadmap
The cooperation between MAN Truck & Bus and Mobileye will decisively drive further development. With Mobileye Drive™, the expert for autonomous vehicles has developed a turnkey self-driving system that is ready for scalable commercial use and has a sophisticated sensor system. It also features “safety by design” and the use of highly scalable AV maps. Mobileye will provide the Mobileye Drive™ intelligent Automated Driving System (ADS) along the planned roadmap. Meanwhile, MAN will create the necessary vehicle architecture to meet bus automation requirements.
“We are excited about the future collaboration with MAN Truck & Bus. We care about sustainable mobility solutions in both the private and public sectors and see autonomous vehicle technologies as an important contribution to making public transport safer, more efficient and more accessible. MAN Truck & Bus and Mobileye share a clear vision for autonomous mobility of the future, which is underlined by this cooperation,” says Johann Jungwirth, Senior Vice President, Autonomous Vehicles at Mobileye.
Another task for MAN is to integrate the autonomous vehicles into a comprehensive ecosystem. After all, the automation of the bus in the complex urban environment means more than just the driving function: just think of other activities of the driving personnel such as communication with passengers including ticket sales, behaviour at the bus stop, de-escalation in conflict situations or also the reaction to unexpected events such as diversions or accidents. This requires intelligent solutions, which can be found above all through the increasing possibilities in the area of digitalisation.
The first automated MAN bus of the type Lion’s City E is to prove itself in Munich’s city traffic from as early as 2025, accompanied by a safety driver. It is to be used on bus route 144 through the Olympic Park, which is characterised by tourism and leisure, as part of the MINGA research project. In the project, which is led by the Mobility Department (Mobilitätsreferat) of the City of Munich and funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), MAN and numerous other project partners from industry, science, administration and associations are working, among other things, on the integration of automated vehicles into the existing mobility ecosystem. Subsequently, MAN Truck & Bus is planning further pilots in actual customer use and, in perspective, full series production by the end of the decade. The fact that Germany was the first country in the world to create the legal framework for autonomous driving is a decisive advantage in this respect.
SOURCE: MAN Truck & Bus