New mobility services like ridepooling could relieve inner cities, reduce emissions, and provide greater flexibility for passengers. The ALIKE project for autonomous ridepooling is developing an on-demand transportation service with autonomous shuttle buses for the city of Hamburg. Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are among those involved in the project. ALIKE pools the expertise of transportation providers with that of academic and automotive industry partners. Germany’s Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport is funding the project with EUR 26 million.
Up to 10,000 autonomous shuttles could be on the streets of Hamburg in 2030, with a modern on-demand transportation service set to offer a mobility solution that complements classical bus- and train-based public transport. The system will be easy to book and use, and ideally it will also be scalable to larger regions and even suitable for rural areas.
Autonomous ridepooling will help to close the gap between the actual mobility needs of many living arrangements and what public transport can actually offer. The consortium’s partners will begin by developing and setting up a system for booking and using up to 20 autonomous vehicles in Hamburg’s public transport system. The vehicles will be integrated in an on-demand service for testing in actual operation and booking online via app. The results of the project will form the basis for establishing and scaling up future commercial autonomous ridepooling services.
How Autonomous Vehicles Will Affect Traffic and Passengers
Looking into how the new service will be received by the people of Hamburg, researchers at KIT’s Institute for Transport Studies (IfV) are following up on research by the MOIA project, in which they demonstrated that under certain conditions, car traffic in Hamburg could be reduced by up to 8 percent with ride-sharing services. The mobiTopp simulation tool that was specially developed for MOIA will also be used in the ALIKE project. “The first large-scale integration of autonomous vehicles into public transport will take place here. We’re investigating how people will react to autonomous ridepooling services,” says Dr. Martin Kagerbauer, a mobility researcher at IfV. According to Kagerbauer, ridepooling can be operated more economically with autonomous vehicles, which would also improve mobility away from private vehicles. He and his team will use the data from these investigations to improve the MOIA traffic model with mobiTopp. “The more data about different forms of mobility we combine in our model, the better we can understand and advance the mobility transition,” says Kagerbauer.
Germany’s Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport is supporting the project with EUR 26 million. Transport Minister Volker Wissing delivered official notification of the grant today (October 23, 2023) in Hamburg.
In addition to consortium leader HOCHBAHN, the project consortium includes the on-demand service MOIA, the vehicle manufacturers HOLON and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, research partner KIT, and Hamburg’s transport and mobility transition authority.
Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.