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Autonomous minibus takes visitors to the International Engineering Fair

After the success at the URBIS fair, where the Transport Research Centre in cooperation with Roboauto presented its autonomous minibus, the minibus will also transport visitors at the International Engineering Fair in Brno from 4 to 7 October 2022.

The minibus was developed as part of an international European Commission project called SHOW (SHared automation Operating models for Worldwide adoption), in which its researchers are testing whether this technical innovation can be incorporated into the public transport system in the future. If so, they will find out the optimal way to integrate the autonomous minibus into the transport system.

Autonomní minibus vozí návštěvníky Mezinárodního strojírenského veletrhu

What can passengers look forward to?

Visitors can enjoy a ride in this autonomous minibus on all three days of the fair from 9am to 3pm. There are a total of four boarding stations on its route, the main one is located in front of the Hall A1 (see map below). Here can passengers also meet the research team and ask any questions they may have. The rides are completely free of charge. Upon exiting the vehicle, passengers will be asked to fill in a short questionnaire about their experience.

How will be ensured the passengers safety?

Securing absolute traffic safety is a priority. The vehicle and its sub-systems have therefore undergone extensive testing over the previous six months. In addition, a specially trained "safety driver" will always be present in the vehicle to ensure that the vehicle functions properly. In case of any discomfort, he will take over the driving. He will also introduce the passengers to the cab and answer any questions.

How many people will be able to board the autonomous minibus?

The vehicle has a capacity of five seated passengers in the main cabin. There are two benches both in the direction and against the direction of travel. In addition, the large windows provide a very nice view. Everyone is welcome on board, regardless of age.

What speed will it travel at?

The top speed of our autonomous electric minibus is 40 km/h. However, we limit it to 20 km/h when driving in autonomous mode so that passengers can enjoy the driving experience. In addition, the autonomous system adjusts its own speed according to the current conditions, just like a human driver, so it slows down before braking thresholds and brakes for corners.

Where will the minibus be driving after the fair?

The autonomous minibus will remain in operation after the fair. Initially, it will be in the exhibition grounds, and later also at other Brno locations. Negotiations are currently underway on their suitable selection.

What are the anticipated benefits of using autonomous vehicles in public transport?

The potential benefits of autonomous vehicles are numerous, but we are still in the very early stages of these technologies, so we cannot expect the deployment of vehicles to occur in massive numbers in the coming years. In the future, they can be considered, for example, as a way of dealing with driver shortages.

Which countries involved in the SHOW project are already testing similar vehicles and with what success?

SHOW is one of the most ambitious projects ever supported by the European Commission. A total of 70 partners from 13 EU Member States are piloting their autonomous vehicles in a similar way to ours, with more than 50 vehicles in the whole project.