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Photo Credit: Tim Kögler

Autonomous Shuttle Fleet on Public Roads in Monheim

The first fleet of autonomous driving shuttles on public roads in Germany connects the city center with the nearby old town. The fleet deployment in Monheim am Rhein was a first-of-its-kind trial that became a permanent service in Monheim.

Monheim am Rhein: The first Autonomous Shuttle Fleet on Public Roads in Germany

On 26 February 2020, the Bahnen der Stadt Monheim GmbH (BSM), a know public transport provider in the west of Germany, was granted the concession for a minibus line starting from the bus station to the old town center, which runs exclusively on public roads. Soon it became the first public transport provider in Germany to deploy and operate a fleet of driverless, autonomous Shuttles on public roads. Since early 2020, five EZ10 autonomous shuttles are being used in Monheim am Rhein to extend the public transport to the historic old town.

The vehicles can accommodate up to 11 passengers and is still being accompanied by a so called "Safety Operator". The operator on board is still necessary by German law. In Monheim am Rhein, the buses are seamlessly integrated into the existing public transport network and run from 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week.

A unique use case: Extending the Public Transport Network to the Historic Old Town

The City Monheim a, Rhein is leading the charge in smart mobility - since more than 100 years. The German town with a long tradition of innovation is only counting a population of just over 40,000 and originally started running autonomous shuttle buses to bring new life to its existing public transport network. The service free of charge quickly grew to a convenient means of transportation and tourist magnet.

Photo Credit: Tim Kögler

 

Monheim is an agent of change for driverless technology. It is cities like this that are showing the world how autonomous driving can benefit communities. The buses in Monheim suit their streets, are electric and so zero-emission, and offer a stress-free way for people to get around,” said Benedikt Sperling, EasyMile’s Managing Director DACH.

It is also the first time a fleet of 5 autonomous vehicles has been deployed here which is a great step forward,” he added.

Being a first-of-its-kind, the transport provider BSM faced a complex series of processes for road approval. As a funded project supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the project delivers insights & learnings that help facilitate the future use of autonomous vehicle solutions for public transport.

 

“We can only operate the line with minibuses. There are places on the route where a full-scale bus simply would be too large,"

- Michael Hamann, Operations Manager BSM

Want to take a ride? 


Line “A 01” starts at the Monheim bus station. Via Baumberger Straße it reaches Kirchstraße and continues to the “Evangelische Kirche” stop. Here it turns into the old town, passes Monheim’s landmark, the “Schelmenturm”, and finally reaches the stop “Altstadt” on the banks of the Rhine in a loop ride. From there it continues through the old town and via Kirch- und Baumberger Straße back to the bus station.

Photo Credit: Tim Kögler