Autonomous mobility is no longer a utopia; it is already reality and a key technology in today’s world. Worldwide, and especially in Europe, research and testing are being carried out on autonomous mobility – this holds great potential in terms of improving individual mobility thanks to increasingly efficient services while also providing a way of reducing private transport.
The mobility turn cannot be achieved without digital and forward-looking mobility offers. The goal “more mobility with less traffic” can only be realized by the merging of different digital technologies. One key element in this effort can be autonomous vehicles on demand.
When you think of the future of mobility, you see young people racing through skyscraper canyons in futuristic robot taxis in your mind’s eye. In reality, most autonomous projects do not drive sleek robot taxis in German metropolises. Instead, ponderous-looking minibuses, so-called people movers, move through narrow alleys and across marketplaces in smaller towns and rural areas. This is the case in Bad Birnbach, for example. The small town in the Lower Bavarian spa triangle, which is known for its thermal baths, has been attracting not only wellness guests but also fans and experts of new mobility since 2017. The reason for this is a small, box-like vehicle with a top speed of only 15 km/h: it is Germany’s first autonomous public bus!
Anyone who thought of the year 2020 20 years ago probably had in mind, autonomous cars that would be romping all around on the streets. Today’s reality, however, teaches us otherwise and proves that the situation is much better: Although we are continuously on the right track, there is still no question of autonomous vehicles dominating the road traffic.
At the beginning of September, two events revolved around this question: Zukunft Nahverkehr (engl. “Future of Public Transport”) by DB Regio AG in Berlin and the IAA Mobility in Munich. Our mobility experts from ioki were present at both events and look back on days full of inspiration.