D he French company Easymile has an approximately four-meter-long, self-driving minibus in its range for passenger transport, the EZ10. In Germany, the vehicle is already in use in Bad Birnbach, Lower Bavaria. Two shuttles are always in test operation over the same short distance of 700 meters and travel a maximum of 8 km /h.
The city of Monheim in North Rhine-Westphalia is going one step further. The local transport companies should start using self-driving buses in regular scheduled services from autumn 2019. According to media reports, the purchase of five autonomous EZ10 minibuses is planned for this purpose. They are intended to complete the network as an additional bus line seven days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight.
Reduced speed to 20 km /h
The technically possible maximum speed of the EZ10, which is 45 km /h, reduced. The buses should transport up to eleven people at a maximum of 20 km /h and thus cover a distance of two kilometers. Six stops are planned at which the buses automatically stop and start again.
Before the start of regular operation, the route is measured with the vehicles as part of a test. The cameras and sensors always have to know exactly what position the autonomous vehicle is in. Although the Easymile EZ10 automatically drives to level 5, i.e. has no pedals and no steering wheel, an accompanying person will always be on board in Monheim. In an emergency, she can stop the bus at the push of a button.
According to the online magazine Ecomento, a copy of the Easymile EZ10 costs around 250,000 euros. The transport company of the city of Monheim am Rhein will receive funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the acquisition of the vehicles, which will cover 90 percent of the costs