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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.

Autonomous bus will start at the end of 2017 in Bavarian spa town

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the first pilot operation in the public street area is to be followed by the start of operation in the Bavarian spa town of Bad Birnbach.

Deutsche Bahn, the Regionalbus Ostbayern, the Rottal-Inn district and the market town of Bad Birnbach are cooperating with the project. The Autonomous Bus will connect the center of Bad Birnbach with the Artrium, the Rottal-Termen and the train station.

The aim is that an autonomous vehicle is used in regular passenger operation. The project fits in with the development concept of the health resort, in the chapter "The ecological bath" the topic of e-mobility is an important building block.

In rural areas, where many people still rely on the car, innovative technologies and transport concepts can lay the foundations for a new environmentally friendly mobility of the future.

The autonomous bus runs purely electrically and is equipped with laser sensors and cameras. By combining the data from different systems, the vehicle finds its way. If there is an obstacle in its path, or if a person is running on the road, the safety system is engaged and the vehicle brakes immediately and stops.

Platooning test from 2018 on the A 9

DB Schenker and MAN work together on the development of networked truck columns for use in logistics. For the first time, DB Schenker truck columns are being tested by professional drivers for several months in real road traffic. DB Schenker and MAN platoons will be deployed on the "Digital Testfield Autobahn" on the A 9 between the DB Schenker branches in Munich and Nuremberg in the test phase that will begin in the spring of 2018.

The platoons consist of two trucks each. At the beginning, the trucks still operate without cargo, in order to study the driving conditions in the everyday traffic flow and to train the drivers involved in the project in the operation of the vehicles and the driving characteristics. This is followed by weekly and daily test drives. These will be replaced during the course of the year 2018 by regular flights with real charges. Up to three times a day, the platoons are then deployed between the DB Schenker logistics centers in Munich and Nuremberg.

Platooning is a vehicle system for road traffic, where at least two trucks on the motorway can drive one after the other by means of technical systems. The leading vehicle gives speed and direction. The distance between the individual trucks is about ten meters. The goal is to achieve a fuel savings of up to ten percent for the entire platoon and to reduce CO2 emissions by means of the wind shadows.