3F – Driverless and fault-tolerant vehicle systems

Key Info

Basic Information

01.04.2017 to 30.04.2020
Organizational Unit:
Chair of Production Engineering, Factory Planning
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi

Research partner

    • Robert Bosch GmbH
    • FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik
    • RA Consulting GmbH
    • Streetscooter GmbH
    • Finepower GmbH

The development of driverless low-speed shuttle buses marks the next step on the road to autonomous driving. A prerequisite for the marketability of such vehicles are fault-tolerant components and their smooth interaction. The 3F joint project is working on this.

No steering wheel, no brake pedal, no classic dashboard: Driverless shuttle buses for passenger and goods transport are already on test tracks in the first German cities. They have considerable potential for the future, especially with regard to sustainable vehicle concepts: on fixed routes, for example from a tram stop to the exhibition center, driverless shuttle buses can close existing gaps in public transport. Especially in rural and secluded regions, which regular public transport cannot cover economically, they expand the range of the mobility offer. In the near future, the shuttle buses could also travel across industrial or airport sites or commute through leisure parks. Equipped with an environmentally friendly electric drive, they also reduce the pollution of fine dust and CO2 emissions.

"Driverless shuttle buses must meet completely different requirements than automated vehicle systems, where a driver can still intervene in the final analysis," says Dr. Steffen Knoop, project coordinator and project manager in Research and Advance Engineering at Robert Bosch GmbH. By using them on "familiar" terrain, i.e. on pre-programmed routes, the safety and performance requirements can be reduced to a certain extent, but this does not necessarily mean that the vehicle has to be able to cope with the demands of the new system. But what happens if the power supply for the steering or a camera fails during a passenger transport at 25 km/h? Then there is no driver immediately on hand to take over the driving task and the shuttle bus has to ensure the safe condition itself. In such a situation, the systems used must be so fault-tolerant and robust that the safety of passengers and other road users is guaranteed in every case. The 3F project has been investigating how the corresponding vehicle components must be designed in the face of such challenges since its launch in April 2017.