Arrived in Ilmenau: Automated minibuses were handed over
Two automated minibuses that will soon be used in regular service in Ilmenau were handed over today (10.06.2022) by the vehicle manufacturer to IOV Omnibusverkehr GmbH Ilmenau. The electrically powered buses will connect the Ilmenau train station with the Ilmenau University of Technology campus in a shuttle service starting with the change of the municipal bus service timetable on August 29. They are primarily intended to cover the so-called "last mile" for rail passengers. The buses do not require a driver; they are accompanied only by a supervisor who monitors proper operation.
The driverless minibustype EZ10 from the French manufacturer EasyMile, headquartered in Toulouse, is the world's most widely used driverless shuttle. The people mover can carry up to twelve passengers, and barrier-free access is provided by an automatic electric boarding ramp. The EZ10 is just over four meters long and just under two meters wide and weighsweighs 2.1 tons. Its top speed is 45 kilometers per hour, but this must be electronically limited to 25 km/h in accordance with road traffic regulations. The battery-powered buses have a range of up to 16 hours.
To ensure safe operation of the driverless buses, they are equipped with optical lidar sensors for distance and speed measurement and with stereo cameras. A so-called odometry system continuously records the position and orientation of the buses, and a redundant braking system ensures that they come to a safe stop even in the event of malfunctions. Additionally equipped with radar sensors, mobile radio modules and computers developed by the Thuringian Innovation Center for Mobility (ThIMo), the EZ10 navigates safely along a previously electronically measured route, automatically avoiding possible obstacles. Safe driving is guaranteed even in rain, snow and fog at temperatures ranging from minus 15 to plus 45 degrees Celsius.
Before the autonomous minibuses will start regular service in Ilmenau, there are still a few stops to be made: First, technical acceptance and an EMC test will take place to ensure the electromagnetic compatibility of the vehicles in view of the additional installations. The buses will then be approved by the road traffic authority before undergoing extensive testing on the route between the train station and the university from mid-July to mid-August. At the same time, theIOV Omnibusverkehr GmbH Ilmenau will train the staff who will accompany the passengers.
The project of automated minibuses is funded by the Thuringian Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation and supported by the Ilmkreis District Office, the City of Ilmenau and the Ilmenau University of Technology. The Thuringian Innovation Center for Mobility (ThIMo), based at the TU Ilmenau, is supporting the project as the first building block of a real laboratory that will grow significantly in the future: scientists are researching and developing innovative radio and vehicle technologies. They are also analyzing the perception and acceptance of autonomous shuttle buses among the population. The accompanying scientific research is funded by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society. The coordinated projects are an important step toward the development of intelligent, sustainable and user-oriented transportation in the Ilm district and far beyond.
Dr. Andreas Schwarz
Head of Public Relations and Technology Communication
+49 3677 69-4694