Those who want to get a glimpse of what local public transport could look like in the future can experience this every day on the banks of the Main until July 2020. Because on the side closed to car traffic, autonomous vehicles are running on a test basis between Alter Brücke and Eisernem Steg. These are fully electric, CO2-free, quiet, safe and efficient. Every day from 1pm to 7pm, you can try out the futuristic vehicles for free on the Mainkai.
The vehicles have a test route of around 700 metres at their disposal, which is permanently programmed in. Interested passengers can get on and off at the specially set-up stops "Alte Brücke", "Eiserner Steg" and "Untermainbrücke". The pilot project, called EASY (Electric Autonomous Shuttle for You), aims to explore how the new technology can be integrated into public transport of the future.
"We are thinking public transport of the future beyond buses and trains, and autonomous driving is an exciting technology in this context. Autonomous vehicles can ideally complement public transport in the first and last mile as on-demand transport, improve services in off-peak daytime areas and provide even better access in rural areas. What needs to be done to make this vision a reality is what we want to find out with our test trials", says RMV Managing Director Prof. Knut Ringat. RMV subsidiary fahma had already purchased the vehicles from manufacturer EasyMile in early summer, and they are now being used in Frankfurt for the first time.
The two vehicles each offer six seats and travel completely independently at speeds of up to 15 kilometers per hour. However, an operator is always on board. The central location of the route in the Main metropolis offers an optimal test environment, said Klaus Oesterling, head of transport of the city of Frankfurt: "Blocked banks of the Main and autonomous driving: changing mobility needs require new approaches. The city of Frankfurt is thus taking an important role in the testing of autonomous vehicles."
Another advantage of this public test is explained by traffiQ managing director Dr.-Ing. Tom Reinhold: "Our passengers directly experience the mobility of tomorrow. Getting to know the vehicles and taking a ride yourself is the best way to get excited about this new technology - it can be the future of even more customer-friendly local transport."
The VGF is responsible for day-to-day operations. "To be able to experience autonomous vehicles ourselves is a huge opportunity for a transport company. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, we at Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt are taking care of the operational handling, technical support and the accompanying staff for the vehicles in the project," says VGF Managing Director Michael Rüffer.
The pilot project is receiving scientific support from the University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt, which is being supported by the House of Logistics & Mobility (HOLM) as a regional development and networking platform. The interdisciplinary team will survey EASY shuttle passengers and other stakeholders to identify future deployment opportunities for autonomous vehicles in public transport.
For more information, please visit: www.probefahrt-zukunft.de
Trial period: 20.09.2019 to 31.07.2020. However, the operation will pause for some major events at Mainkai.
Operation period: daily from 13:00 - 19:00