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autonomous shuttles

Autonomous Shuttles on the airside apron at Sendai Airport


Cooperating to introduce autonomous shuttles

As part of an initiative by MLIT (the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transit), 2getthere Asia as subcontractor to Toyota Tsusho Corporation provided two demonstrations at Sendai Airport (Japan). In October and December 2018 our 3rd generation GRT vehicle was featured on the airside apron in mixed traffic, interacting with a variety of other vehicles featured on the airside. The tests were carefully designed to show mixed operations capabilities, with objects placed on the path, along the route and intersecting with manually driven vehicles.

Autonomous on the airport apron

The demonstrations were organized as a step towards integrating autonomous shuttles on the airport apron, delivering passengers to planes not connected to an airbridge. The key requirement for the application is the route is not dedicated to the automated system, sharing the road with manually driven traffic on the airside. As the vehicles shuttle between the stairs and the terminal building, there are intersections with other vehicles entering the route from any of the adjacent airplane positions. The automated system needed to take into account cross traffic of both motorized traffic and pedestrians.

Airside environment

The airside resembles a city center in the diversity of traffic and traffic movements, although in an environment where access is controlled and behavior can influenced through training. For any application where automated/autonomous vehicles are expected to operate amongst manually driven vehicles, the challenge is to ensure safety (of both passengers and the surroundings) and maintain throughput (of both the automatically and manually driven systems) – all while taking into account any applicable constraints. In specific for Sendai Airport these constraints concern operating on an airport and in Japan.

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Autonomous Shuttles: mixed traffic on existing roads for financially viable transit for modest volumes

Driverless Buses

Driverless buses are the future, as Morgan Stanley states the car of the future is shared, autonomous and electric. Which means that the introduction of driverless vehicles actually starts – and should start – with the introduction of autonomous shuttles. Such public transit vehicles are the key to ensure the liveability of cities by ensuring the appeal of the driverless car doesn’t result in an increase of the number of cars and car movements on city streets. Driverless buses are available as a 4-passenger taxi and 20-passenger mini-bus.

Mixed traffic

Safely integrating driverless buses in mixed traffic is (only) possible today when operating in a semi-controlled environment. In suchenvironment the complexity of mixed operations is reduced through a degree of control over the four application aspects (1) speed, (2) intersections, (3) access and (4) behavior. In case of insufficient control of the complexity the only way to ensure the safety today, is by means of safety driver or steward and low(er) speeds restricting the throughput and capcity that can be realized.

2getthere’s applications

The first applications of driverless buses are expected in a limited size, dedicated area. 2getthere’s Rivium system operates in a semi-controlled environment: although operating on a dedicated track, there is no control over access to the track and the behavior of other road users. The vehicles were actually used in various mixed traffic demonstrations in 2003 and 2004. The Rivium ParkShuttle serves as a benchmark for 2getthere in the study of the requirements for safe integration of automated vehicles in various environments.

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Autonomous Shuttles serving Brussels Airport last mile needs

Brussels Aiport

In 2015, Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn entered into a partnership with the intent to deploy self-driving shuttles at the airport. Further study and a tender between five different suppliers of autonomous vehicles ultimtely led to the choice for 2getthere. The project fits well with Brussels Airport drive to constantly study new possibilities of expanding their intermodal hub in sustainable manner. With the project Flanders is a pioneer: it will be the first permanent application (at an airport) without steward and on public roads.

Phased Introduction

The contract is divided into two phases. The first phase covers the development and thorough testing of the technology. In autumn 2019, 2getthere will be conducting the first vehicle tests at its testsite in Utrecht. Upon successful completion, the first self-driving bus will arrive at Brussels Airport in the beginning of 2020 for further test drives at the airport. Upon a positive evaluation of the first phase of testing, De Lijn and Brussels Airport Company can deploy the self-driving shuttle from 2021 onwards between the terminal and Brucargo.

De Lijn

The initiative for the project originated at De Lijn, the public transit company of Flanders. For the application Brussels Airport Company and De Lijn are sharing the project costs, with the go-ahead for the first phase given on April 20th, 2018. De Lijn is responsible for the costs associated with people who travel by public transport (De Lijn, MIVB, NMBS) to the airport. The airport operator will foot the costs for the transport of persons who come to the airport by other means of transport (staff, visitors or passengers).

Download Brochure

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Accessing the Smart City via the Amsterdam Lelylaan hub


Amsterdam Lelylaan Study

Within the Amsterdam Lelylaan Study, 2getthere contributed to the transformation of the A10 ring road from a barrier that inhibits connection between the inner and outer parts of the city to a desirable destination through integration of the highway and the city in a way that generates new forms of living and improves mobility for future inhabitants. The solution is a new multimodal transport hub, alongside new urban developments on both sides of the A10 and the introduction of 2getthere’s autonomous shuttles.

The Hub

The Hub offers a smooth mobility transition between private cars and public transit. In addition to parking, restaurants and retail, it also includes a stop for the CityPods. The pods provide a shorter (~ 12 minutes) connection to Amsterdam centre, with a high service level. This can be realized without having to create new lanes by using the existing space more efficiently. The autonomous shuttles ensure the number of cars is reduced, sustainability and liveability are improved and parking can be converted to value adding purposes.

Urban Development

The proposal will result in the introduction of 8,400 new residential units, in a total built area of 750,000 m² and an added value of 370 million Euro in revenue. With underground and above ground connections there will no longer be a prevailing concept of the inner/outer ring, featuring streets and pathways that favor pedestrians and the automated transit system. The realization can be done in phases, allowing the development to start today, while accommodating adaptation to market fluctuations moving forward.

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