Berlin – The driver’s seat could actually be left empty. A bus that can find its way around independently and does not require drivers is to drive through the western inner city. This was announced by Sahin Albayrak, professor at the Technical University (TU) Berlin, on Monday. “It is scheduled to go into operation in April 2022,” said the computer scientist, who, according to him, is in charge of what he says is the world’s largest test field for automated and networked driving in Berlin. The General German Automobile Club (ADAC) has also discovered the technology that will later relieve people of all driving tasks. Anyone interested can find out more in the ADAC Mobility Space – daily until Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Niederbarnimstraße 19 in Friedrichshain.
From the outside it will be a completely normal electric bus that runs according to a fixed timetable and can be used for free. But the inner workings are special. Cameras, laser scanners and ultrasound target the surroundings, a computer processes the information and controls the bus. In the futuristic interior, screens show what the sensors are recording. “Passengers will be able to ask questions of the bus,” said Albayrak. A companion is on board for safety.
“Nobody can stop the development anymore”
BeIntelli – this is the name of the project that aims to explore the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence in this area. In April, the consortium, which includes Continental, T-Systems and Tüv Nord, informed about the planned “explainer bus”, which will provide information about autonomous driving. Albayrak has now announced that it will be a twelve-meter-long vehicle from MAN. It will be used on the existing urban test field in Berlin. The partners are the BVG and the railway.
The more than ten-kilometer route extends from the Brandenburg Gate via Straße des 17. Juni, Ernst-Reuter-Platz and Kurfürstendamm to Adenauerplatz. In the zoo there is a second connection via John-Foster-Dulles-Allee. In order to additionally guide the vehicles, the route is peppered with cameras and sensors – in the future there should be around 250. They not only target lanes and parking spaces, but also record traffic lights, the weather situation and pollution.
Automated test vehicles, such as a VW Tiguan and two vans, have been on the road in the open-air real-world laboratory for a long time. However, it has been shown how complex the task of organizing driverless traffic is. But Albayrak is certain that in ten years there will be technology of the highest possible level 5, which works and is ready for the market. “Nobody can stop the development anymore,” he said.