The aim of the “Digibus® Austria” project is to research and test methods, technologies and models for the reliable and safe operation of automated vehicles for local passenger transport for proofing a reliable and traffic-safe operation of automated shuttles on open roads in mixed traffic in a regional driving environment. Although more and more test trials are announced or carried out worldwide, few research projects have been known which aim at a systematic further development of automated shuttles in the direction of higher autonomous levels. The project is intended to lay the foundation for achieving level 4 (high automation) and thus to further develop to the next level of automation.
Specifically, the following questions are to be researched and answered within the scope of the flagship project “Digibus® Austria”:
- Digital and Physical Infrastructure: Which methods can be used to analyze and evaluate the suitability respectively equipment of a driving environment or driving lane for a highly or fully automated passenger shuttle and how can the digital driving environment or driving lane for a highly or fully automated vehicle be (partially) created automatically?
- Connectivity: Which technologies (LTE-V, ITS G5) are suitable for which connectivity requirements for highly or fully automated passenger shuttles and how can this improve the reliability of positioning and communication?
- Road safety and roadworthiness: Which methods can be used to proof the roadworthiness or traffic safety of a highly automated passenger shuttle, and which driving scenarios can be handled in a traffic-safe and compliant manner by a highly automated shuttle in mixed traffic situations?
- Human factors:
a) Which interaction concepts with other road users are suitable for regional driving scenarios of highly automated passenger shuttles and which insights can be gained with a driving simulator or through real tests?
b) What methods of multimodal passenger interaction with a focus on voice or video based approaches are suitable for driverless operation and how can this build a similar or higher level of confidence compared to a driver’s operation?
- New mobility services: which concepts are suitable for integrating highly or fully automated passenger shuttles into an intermodal, regional mobility system and how can these concepts be integrated into existing digital mobility services?
- Regulatory measures: Which framework conditions (technical, organizational, legal, social, economic) have to be taken into account for real testing or subsequently for the operation of highly or fully automated passenger shuttles in regional environments and how can these be mapped in a reference model?
All methods, technologies and models are tested in the “Digibus® Austria” project on a non-public and on two public regional test tracks. The results form the basis for an Austrian reference model for the real testing and operation of highly or fully automated vehicles in local public transport.