Driverless robo-taxis are set to play a key role in making our roads less congested and more eco-friendly and efficient, particularly in urban areas. Such transportation systems are still a rare sight, with autonomous shuttle buses that can carry several passengers so far confined to pilot projects on short, straightforward public routes and in designated areas such as airports, hospitals, universities and exhibition centers. Yet there is no shortage of solutions. Indeed, virtually all the technology needed to get these completely redesigned vehicles - which have no steering wheel or pedals - moving from A to B independently, electrically and safely is already available. Researchers and developers at Continental Automotive GmbH in Europe, North America and Asia are among those working hard to adapt established series technology for use in planned robo-taxis. The autonomous EZ10 shuttle bus from French company EasyMile, which Continental Automotive has had a stake in since 2017, is equipped with Continental technology and is due to enter series production for the first time by the end of this year.
"The technological building blocks that enable robo-taxis to operate are available in principle and have been tried and tested in practice. However, we now have to put them together intelligently, safely and efficiently to form an overall picture," says Andree Hohm, Director of Driverless Mobility at Continental. The central development platform for this work is the CUbE, a small driverless bus based on the EZ10 platform. Yet Continental is not looking to develop the CUbE into a series-production vehicle itself, but to focus exclusively on getting technologies such as brake systems and environment sensors market-ready. "Customers developing driverless mobility systems should be able to draw on a wide array of high-performance products and solutions from Continental," Hohm says, adding: "We are setting the course for that. At the same time, our global activities are addressing local conditions."
Continental Automotive GmbH (30165 Hannover, Germany)