August 2019 – January 2020
In the pilot project, the innovative technology of automated driving was tested on a real route with mixed traffic and was at the same time brought closer to the urban population. Important insights were gained, e.g. on road safety and the operation/use of highly automated vehicles on public roads from the project. The consortium tested an automated vehicle here for the first time over a period of 5 months on public roads in a major German city. The state of Berlin supported the pilot operation with state funds.
In addition to the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection (SenUVK), the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Business (SenWEB), the district of Berlin-Reinickendorf, the BVG, Berlin Partner/eMO and ioki are participating in the project.
From August 2019 to mid-January 2020, the partners in the See-Meile project tested a highly automated minibus on public roads in Berlin for the first time. The EasyMile vehicle drove from the Alt-Tegel underground station to the lakeside terraces (about 600 meters) at Lake Tegel on weekdays and weekends. Up to six passengers were transported per trip. The ride was free of charge.
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Under the name “See-Meile”, it was possible for the first time to set up a public road transport route near Tegel harbor and to test the operation of highly automated minibuses in a major city.
Together with numerous partners, a 5-month test phase with a self-driving minibus from the company EasyMile was successfully carried out. Of course, with attendants on board who also supervise the driving operation.
A fleet of two vehicles operated at a maximum speed of 12 km/h on the route from Alt-Tegel underground station to the Tegeler Seeterassen (Wilkestraße). The route was deliberately kept simple in this first test.
The operating hours offered were actively used and most of the passengers gave positive feedback.
The DB subsidiary ioki provided scientific support for the “See-Meile” project. Valuable findings were collected on user acceptance of autonomous shuttles in inner-city public transport. With a re-use rate of almost 90 percent, acceptance among the respondents was very high. After use, 37 percent of respondents had a better opinion of highly automated vehicles, according to ioki’s findings. In view of the current state of technology, however, no conclusive statement can yet be made regarding user acceptance. This would require further projects of this kind. The acceptance of passengers will also be researched in the follow-up project.
The continuation and expansion of the See-Meile is part of the Shuttles&Co research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. You can find out more about the See-Meile project and the latest news at the associated website of the BVG.