Deutsche Bahn starts test drives for autonomous bus in Berlin

Yesterday, Deutsche Bahn presented a new test field for autonomous buses in Berlin. At Euref campus, a separate bus line is to be tested in the next few months. The used van carries the sweet name Olli and comes from the US company Local Motors. With the typical white lacquer with the red strip, it looks a bit like a crossroads from a small ICE and a shrunken tram.

The test runs are to be the start for various projects for autonomous driving at Deutsche Bahn. Already next year the minibuses are to be rolled out of the test area and used in the public space.

There are eight seats in the small Olli bus. The vehicle is steered via a tablet, no steering wheel or a shift lever, only one display. Olli finds the way by itself and with the help of different sensors, it creates its even quite well. If someone drives the wheels, the minibus stops abruptly and shakes his inmates powerful.

DB employees should test the buses and give feedback accordingly. Olli is currently traveling only six to eight hours on the test ground. Later, when the autonomous vehicles are traveling on open roads, they are to drive at up to 60 km/h and thus also suitable for use in cities.

Deutsche Bahn is testing the vehicles not only in Berlin, but also in Leipzig with a bus from the company Easymile. In the second half of 2017, the first of these minibuses is supposed to start service on public roads. He then commutes to Bad Birnbach in Lower Bavaria between the thermal baths and the train station. Well, let’s hope that he is at least there on time.

But not enough. The technology of the autonomous vehicle is not to be limited to buses or cars. Deutsche Bahn is also planning tests for independent trucking columns, the so-called platooning. The first truck of the group is still controlled by a human driver, the remaining transporters follow as in an elephant column. In 2018 this project will also be tested on the motorway between Munich and Nuremberg.