First autonomous vehicle on public roads
Low-noise and environmentally friendly electric bus in Bad Birnbach
DB began operating Germany's first autonomous bus line on public roads in 2017. The ioki-branded bus is in service in Bad Birnbach, a spa town in Bavaria. What drivers and pedestrians see is a small electric bus that is not only quiet and environmentally friendly; it is also has no driver, steering wheel or gas pedal. All the bus needs is an attendant on board who can intervene if necessary. The vehicle travels through the spa town on a 1,400 meter route.
A pilot project was conducted in cooperation with Berliner Verkehrsbetrieben (BVG), Berlin's transit authority, to test a self-driving vehicle. The individual on-demand service was the first that passengers could call using an app, It operated without a set timetable. The latest-generation public service vehicle from EasyMile, which uses inductive charging to "fuel up," was in use at the EUREF Campus in Berlin's Schöneberg district through 2018. Plans call for test operations to be expanded to public roads at a later date. The objective of flexible on-demand services like these that use autonomous vehicles is to offer door-to-door mobility in combination with trains and buses. The result will be public transportation that is much more appealing.