Digibus® 2.0: First measurement runs for automated pilot operation 2023
In wintry conditions, the “Digibus® 2.0” was on Austria’s roads for the first time in mid-December. Salzburg Research and Digitrans GmbH carried out the first measurement runs in the municipality of Koppl in preparation for the automated pilot operation. From spring 2023, the 100% battery-electric powered shuttle will complement public transport in the municipality.
The “Digibus®” is driving again in the Salzburg municipality of Koppl – and this time it looks very different: The “Digibus® 2.0” is a standard VW e-Crafter that is converted into an automated shuttle with additional sensors and software. Eight radars, six LiDAR cameras, four cameras with all-round vision and other sensors help the vehicle to position itself and perceive its surroundings.
The major advantages of this converted model compared to the previous models from two full-service providers are the modular design, the open interfaces and the openly available data. This means that the vehicle can be optimally adapted to the respective test situation and important findings can be obtained for research through access to the entire data material.
Preparations for automated pilot operation in 2023
The first test drives in December 2022 were used to measure the route with the sensor technology already installed and to analyse the sensor data obtained. The vehicle must handle complex situations at intersections as well as turning situations at unregulated intersections. Bus stops must be entered correctly and exited to rejoin the flow of traffic. All this requires detailed knowledge of the route and the surroundings.
The “Digibus® 2.0” is expected to run as a research vehicle in Koppl from the end of March until October 2023. As in the previous test drives, a driver will continue to be obligatory on board, who will monitor the functions and can take over the control at any time. Salzburg Research is responsible for this pilot test in Salzburg as part of the Europe-wide research project SHOW. Building on the experience from the Digibus® Austria project, automated transport is being tested to connect rural regions to intermodal mobility hubs.
The VW e-Crafter “EVAN” is provided by DigiTrans GmbH for Austrian research work. The vehicle is funded by the Ministry of Climate Protection via the FFG. SHOW is funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.
More information on the shuttle, the test track and the SHOW project in the press release (in German):