CAMIL presented to the public
CAMIL is the name of the new self-driving bus that will soon connect the Campus of Technischen Universität Ilmenau with the city of Ilmenau. Two automated, electrically powered minibuses will shuttle from the train station to the campus a few kilometers away and back, timed hourly with the trains connecting the state capital Erfurt with Ilmenau. Today (Sept. 15, 2022), the buses were presented to the public in the presence of Thuringia's Minister of Economics, Science and Digital Society Wolfgang Tiefensee.
The CAMIL project, initiated by the Ilm district, took just over a year from the handover of the funding decision to the Ilmenau local transport company IOV to the start of regular service. The partners, the Ilm district, the city of Ilmenau and the Technischen Universität Ilmenau, commissioned professional, in some cases market-leading international institutions to carry out the project: the office autoBus from Potsdam, a specialist in the realization of automated vehicles for local public transport, handled the planning; the Thuringian Mobility Innovation Center, based at the TU Ilmenau, researched and developed innovative radio and vehicle technologies - in the lab and on the streets of Ilmenau; and French manufacturer EasyMile, which develops transport solutions for autonomous passenger and freight transport, supplied the EZ10, the world's most widely used driverless shuttle.
The buses were presented to the public today (Sept. 15, 2022) at Technischen Universität Ilmenau in an official kick-off event as part of the Thuringian Mobility Forum. Thuringia's Minister of Economics, Science and Digital Society Wolfgang Tiefensee spoke of CAMIL as a project that is very concrete and very manageable: "What we are doing here is exemplary in that a project is being set in motion in which research subjects can be touched in a very practical way and we are thus involving people. The Free State of Thuringia will do everything it can to promote and expand projects like this and thus expand our pioneering position in the mobility sector with new ideas, with new technologies."
TU Ilmenau President Prof. Kai-Uwe Sattler made clear the benefits of the research surrounding the project: "CAMIL is also a research project: it's about artificial intelligence, drive technology, electronics and radio technology. And it's also about social science research, about finding out how the population thinks about CAMIL and how the media report on it. After all, what good is the best innovation if people don't embrace the technology because they don't trust it?"
Daniel Schultheiß, the mayor of Ilmenau, sees a benefit for the future in the CAMIL project: "We're getting research out of the labs and out into the open, making the technology tangible for people on the road. And we are enabling a transport company, IOV, to gain valuable experience with a new technology. In this way, we are able to meet the challenges in the development of local public transport."
The district administrator of the Ilm district, Petra Enders, does not see the development of autonomous local public transport in the region as being limited to the route between Ilmenau train station and the campus of the TU Ilmenau: "I can well imagine that local public transport will become even more attractive if autonomous driving is extended to the entire district. I hope that many, many people will use the bus now and that we will be able to say after the project is completed: The project was successful and we will continue it elsewhere in the district."
The EasyMile EZ10 Generation 3 minibus is approved for six passengers, and an automatic electric boarding ramp ensures barrier-free access. Electrically powered and just over four meters long and just under two meters wide, the bus is environmentally friendly and quiet. The maximum permitted speed on public roads is 18 kilometers per hour. To ensure safe operation of the driverless buses - there is only one operator on board for emergencies - they are equipped with optical sensors for measuring distance and speed. A so-called odometry system continuously records the position and orientation and thus the navigation of the buses. A redundant braking system ensures that they come to a halt quickly and safely in the event of a malfunction. Additionally equipped with radar sensors, mobile radio modules and computers developed by the Thuringian Innovation Center for Mobility, the EZ10 navigates along a previously electronically measured route. Safe driving is guaranteed even in rain, snow and fog at temperatures ranging from minus 15 to plus 45 degrees Celsius.
According to plans, the two minibuses will be in regular service in Ilmenau before the end of the year and will provide a shuttle service between the train station and the Ilmenau University of Technology campus. The bus route will start at the rear of the station on the other side of the tracks in Neuhäuser Weg. Before the Nelson Mandela Bridge, it turns right and runs through Ehrenbergstraße, where the first stop will be at the level of the Technology and Start-up Center. The route continues past the Ernst Abbe Center and student dormitories, and the existing bus stop will be used as the second stop in front of the Ehrenberg refectory. After another stop at the university library, the final stop will be at Helmholtzplatz in front of the Kirchhoff Building, not far from the Audimax. On the way back, the route leads from Ehrenbergstraße a short distance via Langewiesener Straße back to Neuhäuser Weg in order to avoid turning maneuvers. A possible extension of the route in the future could lead from Gustav-Kirchhoff-Straße via Am Ehrenberg around the vocational school center.
At the end of 2019, the Ilm district commissioned an initial feasibility study for the implementation of the pilot project, 50 percent of the costs of which were borne by the Thuringian Ministry of the Environment. The study examined suitable routes for their technical and legal feasibility and made a recommendation for the implementation of the route from the Ilmenau train station to the university campus. IOV Omnibusverkehr GmbH Ilmenau, which operates the CAMIL vehicles, was supported by the Ilm district in 2020 with a grant of 289,000 euros to finance the necessary investments to implement the project. In the future, from 2022 to 2024, the Ilm district will continue to support implementation with an operating subsidy to IOV of 150,000 euros per year. The project is funded by the Thuringian Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation with 796,000 euros for two and a half years.
Even after the buses have gone into operation, scientists from the Thüringer Innovationszentrums Mobilität will continue to conduct accompanying research during regular service to further develop the innovative drive and radio technologies and ride comfort. The TU Ilmenau will also continue to research the acceptance of autonomous buses among the population and in the media. The accompanying research is being funded by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society with around two million euros for three years.
The closely interlinked projects are an important step in the development of intelligent, sustainable and user-oriented transportation in the Ilm district. The city of Ilmenau and the Thüringer Innovationszentrums Mobilität are already working on the deployment of even more highly automated buses.
Further information: www.camil-ilmenau.de
Dr. Andreas Schwarz
Head of Group for Public Relations and Communication of Technology
+49 3677 69-4694