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TransportBuddy

Autonomous Vehicle to Support Active Mobility

The emergence of automated driving bears many advantages that contribute, for example, to an increase in safety, efficiency, mobility supply and comfort. The future availability of a personalized point-to-point service through self-driving cars will lead to changes in mobility behavior. Increasing automation in motorized private transport also entails the risk that many of today's existing forms of sustainable transport, such as public transport, walking or cycling, could be used less.
 

[Translate to English:] TransportBuddy

(c) bkm design working group, Designer: Fritz Pernkopf, Stefan Moritsch

With a specific focus on supporting pedestrian routes, autonomous vehicles can promote active forms of mobility and, as a complementary service to existing solutions, be a great help for people in different usage contexts such as the transport of smaller goods. The previously conducted project "TransitBuddy" has already investigated these potentials for transportation hubs and has shown that, due to the complexity of the dynamic environmental influences, the open research questions are particularly related to autonomous driving in close interactions with people in public spaces.

The "TransportBuddy" research project developed an autonomous vehicle which can transport smaller goods or commodities (e.g. shopping), thus supporting footpaths and reducing mobility barriers. The personal assistant can be used in public spaces and large infrastructures such as sidewalks, public squares, shopping streets, railway stations, airports, hospitals and shopping centers. The project identified the target group-specific motives for use, motivations and barriers and elaborated the technical requirements for the autonomous "TransportBuddy". A core aspect of the project "TransportBuddy" was to investigate the interaction of an autonomous vehicle with people in its environment. The new approach of seamlessly integrating a 3D physics simulation for vehicles modelling with a passenger flow simulation allowed to model real scenarios in different infrastructures. These functionalities enable to test possible applications of an autonomous vehicle in advance and support the optimization of algorithms for route planning. In addition, multi-layer planning concepts for navigation were developed and the collision avoidance with dynamic obstacles was significantly improved. For this purpose, new approaches to control autonomous vehicles were implemented, which evaluate planned trajectories according to their safety.

In the design of the "TransportBuddy", special emphasis was put on the essential functional aspects together with the formal design of the built-up in order to maximize user acceptance. Especially the integration of the touch sensitive artificial layer AIRSKIN allows a clear distinction to existing systems and led to new methods for navigation with physical contact. The inclusion of light planning, interaction through touch, etc. showed new possibilities in terms of human-machine interaction, communication and formal design.

The developed design was the basis to construct an attached built-up for an existing DS-Automotion basic transport platform and to examine the prototype of the final autonomous vehicle for its operation in a real environment. The movement behavior of people in their interaction with autonomous vehicles was also qualitatively and quantitatively determined in the relevant use cases when driving between people. As a result of the research project "TransportBuddy", a functional prototype as well as a data base on the movement behavior of people in interaction with autonomous vehicles is available.

A project funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) and FFG within the framework of the 6th call for proposals of the programme Mobilität der Zukunft Personenmobilität.