North Rhine-Westphalia's Monheim is the first European city to use self-propelled electric buses in public transport. It starts in autumn, recently the vehicles were presented for the pilot project.
The planned fleet of five autonomous minibuses will run seven days a week from 7 am to midnight as a separate line in ten-minute intervals in flowing traffic. The route lies between the bus station and the old town, is a good two kilometers long and has six stops. The automated e-bus can be used with the usual public transport tickets.
"Monheim is taking a big step towards automated driving with a small vehicle – and thus more safety and comfort for its citizens," says Andreas Pinkwart, NRW Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy, at the presentation of the vehicles , If the technology proves itself, an extension to other parts of the urban area is planned.
The almost four meter long shuttle buses are from the French manufacturer Easymile. They accommodate up to eleven people, who are transported at a maximum speed of 45 kilometers per hour. In the Monheim line operation, however, initially driven at a maximum speed of about 20 km / h.
Prior to practical use, a test operation will be carried out until summer, in which the distance for the self-drive system of the vehicles will be measured. The Easymile bus does not have a steering wheel – for safety reasons there will be an escort on board who can intervene in an emergency at the push of a button. Each e-bus costs about 250,000 euros, of the total investment in the amount of about 2.1 million euros, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia 90 percent.