KelRide, a project that will introduce an autonomous, on-demand transport service in the Kelheim district, north of Munich, officially begins, with the handover of €10.9 million funding from the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI).

The goal of the KelRide project is to further develop autonomous driving in the region by seamlessly integrating autonomous vehicles that can operate under all weather conditions into the public transport network. For the first time in Germany, it will be possible to book highly automated vehicles on-demand as a modern form of public transport.

A on-demand shared ride service will be established for the Kelheim district with electric and highly automated shuttles. It will be integrated into the local public transport system and operate on a platform using the industry-leading technology and experience of the consortium partners in the fields of autonomous vehicles, fleet management, and on-demand mobility.

The project will also focus on the development of a roadmap to enable highly autonomous vehicles to play an important role in real-world transit operations.

The KelRide project addresses two of the biggest hurdles in autonomous driving: the ability of highly automated vehicles to operate safely under all weather conditions, and the efficient and seamless integration of automated mobility into the public transport network. Today, adverse weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall, rain or fog, limit driverless mobility solutions. This is seen as one of the last remaining challenges for autonomous driving.

The KelRide project will clarify to what extent the use of existing sensor technologies, in combination with project-specific software solutions for vehicle control and intelligent fleet management can achieve all-weather suitability in typical Central European weather conditions. This consistent system architecture will be implemented in Kelheim by 2023. For the first time in Germany, it will be possible to book highly automated vehicles on-demand as a modern form of public transport. The service will be intermodal, facilitating and enhancing connectivity between on-demand rides and the existing public transport network within the same booking. Up to now, this type of vehicle has usually been operated in a pre-scheduled service on a fixed route, whereas the project will introduce dynamically routing in real-time.