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Autonomous driving

Mobility in transition

More convenient, customized, efficient and environmentally friendly travel with driverless vehicles

Autonomous vehicles could soon be a reality on our roads, making road mobility more convenient, customized, efficient and environmentally friendly. Travel time will become productive time because it will be freed up for other activities.

The logistics industry will benefit from driverless vehicles, too, which will enable greater capacity utilization, automated fleet control and more flexibility on the customer and forwarder side. What's more, since most accidents today are caused by human error, roads will be safer.

DB is actively examining how to use autonomous vehicles in the future for its customers in the fields of mobility and logistics. The idea will no longer be to take passengers from one station to the next. Instead, autonomous driving could improve door-to-door mobility and create seamless travel and transport chains.

DB is already operating the first regular scheduled self-driving shuttle buses in Germany. The self-driving bus made by the American manufacturer “Local Motors” was successfully tested at a research campus in Berlin in 2016. The bus, 20% of which was produced using 3D printing, uses 30 sensors, cameras and lasers to constantly collect and process data, and thanks to artificial intelligence and IBM Watson technology, it learns with every journey. The bus needs to be able to detect pedestrians, bicyclists, delivery traffic and cars driving on the premises at all times. The self-driving bus from the French start-up “Easymile” has to meet similarly complex requirements. It also successfully completed testing at the DB Schenker depot in Leipzig. The bus will be used in public space by the end of the year.

Deutsche Bahn is also working with the vehicle manufacturer MAN to prepare for using self-driving trucks in real operating conditions. By 2018 at the latest, a platoon of networked trucks will be tested on the section of the A9 between Munich and Nuremberg designated for testing digital technologies. Driving in the slipstream is the first stage of autonomous truck operation on roads. The next step could conceivably be trucks that operate without a driver.

DB is facing a momentous transformation in the mobility sector. Its customers' daily journeys are becoming increasingly flexible and personalized thanks to digital technologies such as autonomous driving and new living and working environments in the digital age. In the future, the lines between private motorized transport and public transport will blur to create public transport on demand. Door-to-door mobility on demand is the future. The same is true for logistics.