/ Reading: 4 min.

29. Mar 2023
/ Germany
PERSPECTIVES from Tanja Wiesenthal
As Senior Expert Shared Automated Mobility at ioki, Tanja Wiesenthal is already working today on the future of tomorrow. ioki has been one of the pioneers of autonomous driving in public transport since the beginning and covers all the necessary processes for driverless public transport, from app development and the algorithm for ridepooling to operational platform op-eration. Tanja Wiesenthal worked for SAP before and has been working for ioki since 2020, where she is responsible for the procedural and technical conception of ridepooling with au-tonomous vehicles at ioki.

What is your job as Senior Expert Shared Automated Mobility at ioki?

As Senior Expert Shared Automated Mobility, I work together with our Autonomous Driving team on a world premiere: self-driving vehicles as part of the public transport system that move automatically through the traffic in Darmstadt and the Offenbach district. The project is called KIRA. This stands for AI-based regular operation of autonomous on-demand transport and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV). ioki is an absolute pioneer in the industry with the topic of driverless public transport. Our team of experts in the field of autonomous driving has been continuously putting new, self-driving services on the road since 2017.

What is ioki’s role in the autonomous driving ecosystem?

ioki provides a user-friendly ridepooling platform in the autonomous driving ecosystem. This means that we supply all the components for a demand-oriented service with self-driving vehicles from a single source: the passenger app, the intelligent algorithm, and the control centre for the operator with technical supervision. These applications can be used for manually controlled vehicles and for driverless shuttles. The difference is that the information is not sent to the device in the vehicle and thus to the driving personnel, but directly to the autonomous vehicle’s driving system.
All relevant information for autonomous transport is collected on the platform: which passenger wants to go where at what time, and which autonomous vehicle can best fulfil the journey request. In addition, the ioki platform processes the information of the other technology partners for autonomous transport: technical interfaces enabling the opening of the door or the checking of whether the passengers are wearing seatbelts. ioki integrates all the necessary technologies in the autonomous driving ecosystem.

Which technology partners are working with ioki to bring self-driving vehicles to the road?

We work with several renowned tech companies in the industry and are regularly in contact with new, innovative suppliers and vehicle manufacturers.

Currently, our team of experts is establishing the interface for the self-driving system (SDS) of our partner Mobileye. In the past, the shuttle manufacturers Easy Mile and Navya have been successfully connected. We work closely with Bosch to collaborate with indoor care in self-driving vehicle. Our technology setup is an open on-demand ecosystem, so that we can flexibly respond to vehicle manufacturers, SDS or indoor care management technologies according to customer requirements.

What role does autonomous driving play in the so called “Mobilitätswende”?

From my perspective, autonomous driving is a key factor for a successful mobility transition. Transport companies in suburban and rural regions are already facing the challenge of providing attractive and affordable public transport services. This situation will become even more critical in the next few years due to the lack of drivers for buses. With our on-demand services, we are closing these gaps in local transport today and in the future. Local transport is being upgraded by using driverless shuttles, where it was previously not possible for personnel or financial reasons. We have one of the most progressive legislations for autonomous driving in Germany, and we must use that now. We create a measurable, positive effect for environmental and climate protection, because in the future autonomous driving as part of public transport will be more attractive than the private car.

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