Schaeffler and VDL Groep are jointly exploring the development and production of a new generation of self-driving shuttles for public transport. They intend to bring together their technological competencies and expertise in systems engineering, development, production, and public transport. For this progressive and innovative mobility concept, Schaeffler and VDL Groep will cooperate with Mobileye who will provide the shuttle vehicles with autonomous driving systems. The two partners are currently in advanced negotiations with public transport authorities and operators to start pilot projects. According to the roadmap, testing for the vehicles on the streets will most likely be possible starting in 2025.
Public transport operators are increasingly exploring autonomous driving solutions, allowing for increasing traffic volumes even considering a shortage of drivers. Especially in off-peak hours, larger vehicles would progressively be replaced by smaller, self-driving vehicles based on on-demand services that are a perfect solution for making public transport locally emission-free and low-noise. The self-driving shuttles can be ordered by consumers via an app, and are set to change public transport over the next several years. Demand for self-driving shuttle services is expected to take off in the coming years, especially in many major cities in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia by the end of this century.