DAM provides the concept of autonomous driving for public transport in collaboration with RRT and IMVS. In the initial stage, the challenges of autonomous driving in urban areas are addressed and then the novel concepts for meeting those challenges are defined. DAM focusses on the specific challenges of implementing autonomous vehicles in public transport and addresses issues regarding the integration and interaction of an AV with infrastructure, other traffic participants and with its users.
Furthermore DAM researches how the products within the mobility concepts can address the challenges defined by formal aesthetics and aspects of Universal Design. Universal Design is defined as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design”.
The approach focuses on the challenges and opportunities of autonomous vehicles in the specific use case within a public road transport system. DAM will analyse the possibilities and compare the advantages and disadvantages, by conceptualising new solutions for vehicles and their interaction with passengers, traffic and infrastructure.
The aim for the SRT transportation concept is to have a clear added value, and ideally outperform conventional approaches in customer value, as well as in aspects regarding the whole transport system, like commuting times, comfort, or reliability. The research approach consists of 3 stages:
DAM 1 – Analysis and Early Concepts
DAM 2 – Concept Development
DAM 3 – Elaboration of Vehicle and Mobility Concepts
Opportunities and Challenges of AV Integration
Some major interaction problems result from the lack of a driver in AVs. This includes all interactions which normally take place between passengers and taxi or bus drivers. These problems need to be resolved. While some parts like route information or payment can easily be solved technically, older passengers may have adaption difficulties. In addition, the communication with other traffic participants through physical gestures and eye contact is no longer possible.
There are also other interaction challenges apart from the missing driver. A driverless system integrated into a public transport system results in interaction with the infrastructure and local conditions. Issues to be addressed are, for example, the amount of integration or separation of autonomous vehicles at transport nodes like MRT stations, or how to manage the peak loads of passengers at transition points. With the introduction of a new component in the transport system it should be a social responsibility to address the diversity of the population.
At the beginning of the project, when no valid concept input can be provided by the other areas, important challenges need to be identified and the methodologies executed on an exemplary concept, which can be created with quickly gathered general information. These brief concepts serve as a starting point for first simulations, in order to obtain basic information on how these concepts will behave in traffic systems.