Digibus®: Public Demo Operation in Koppl
For the first time, the automated Digibus® will run according to the timetable in August, September and October 2020 in a public demo operation. With this demo operation in the Salzburg municipality of Koppl, the integration of a self-driving shuttle into a supra-regional mobility system as well as new interaction concepts are tested under real conditions. All journeys with the Digibus® are free of charge.
Individual test drives with self-driving shuttles from different manufacturers have been taking place in the Salzburg municipality of Koppl since 2017. The focus of this Salzburg scenario is on bridging the first or last mile – and thus upgrading existing public transport through additional automated offers. Now, for the first time, the Digibus® is being run on a test basis according to the timetable in regular operation and clocked into the public mobility system. No ticket is required for trips with the Digibus®.
“The testing under real conditions – on a completely normal road with different traffic situations inside and outside the local area with inclines, left-turn situations and with various other road users – brought to light challenging details in the areas of driving safety and independence. The solutions developed for this will now be tested in demo operation in 2020”, says project manager Karl Rehrl, research line manager at Salzburg Research.
New Interaction Concepts in the Bus
Particularly in view of the fact that at some point an operator might no longer be required on board, intensive work was carried out on communication between the vehicle and other road users. In a fully automated context without a contact person on site, the bus must communicate very clearly. To this end, solutions for incident management, capacity management and interaction concepts with passengers and other road users have been developed in the last few months.
Framework Conditions for the Demo Operation
- Timetable: The demo runs from August 10 to August 28 and from September 21 to October 16, 2020. During this time, the Digibus($) will run in five courses on weekdays between 9 am and 1.30 pm as a supplement to line 152. As a result, the previous hourly service of line 152 is compressed to half-hourly service as a test.
- Route: The Digibus® runs between Koppl town center and Koppl Sperrbrücke (connection to line 150 Salzburg – Bad Ischl).
- Operator on Board: As before, a trained operator is required on public routes who monitors the operation of the vehicle and can intervene at any time. An employee from Postbus AG will always be on board during the demo operation.
- Covid-19 measures: It is compulsory to war a face mask. In addition to the operator, either three people who do not live in the same household or four people who live in the same household are allowed to board. The shuttle is regularly disinfected by the operator between trips.
3rd Generation of the Digibus®
The third and latest generation of the EasyMile EZ10 Shuttle is available for demo operation in 2020. The sensors in particular have been improved in this further development: The LIDAR sensors in the new shuttle have 32 layers instead of the previous 16 and are positioned differently. In addition, the shuttle can only be driven in one direction, which corresponds to the requirements of some countries so that an automated shuttle can be approved for road traffic.
The new shuttle was delivered to Koppl in May 2020. Since then, preparations have been made for the demo operation, operator training and technical tests.
As before, the Digibus® drives with a trail license plate (license holder: Salzburg Research) and a special permit from the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK), because a regular road license is not yet available for automated vehicles in Austria.
More information on the interaction concepts and the Digibus® Austria research project:
Exact timetable and further information: