Schaeffler and VDL are collaborating on the development and production of a new generation of self-driving shuttles for public transportation. A first demonstrator of the technology will be showcased at the IAA Mobility show in Munich, Germany, September 5-10. The shuttle’s autonomous driving systems will be provided by Mobileye.
Negotiations with public transportation authorities are underway to begin pilot testing; according to the project’s current roadmap, street testing of the shuttles may begin in 2025. Having approved SAE Level 4 for use on public roads, Germany is planned to be the first country where the shuttles will operate.
Both companies aim to accelerate the development of shuttle vehicles that can be manufactured on a commercial scale. The VDL Groep provides expertise in bus and car manufacturing, and Schaeffler has developed a rolling chassis with a fully electric powertrain, steer-by-wire system and battery in a modular layout. Mobileye’s Drive platform enables autonomous operations by using purpose-built EyeQ processors, sensor systems, lidar or radar, and mapping systems.
Schaeffler and VDL aim to construct the shuttles for public transportation operators who will operate them within an ecosystem. They are negotiating with operators to undertake pilot projects to prove the concept and to set up a scalable ecosystem with open interfaces.
The group is targeting the production of thousands of vehicles annually beginning in 2030, with manufacturing to be carried out at VDL’s Mobility Innovation Centre in Born in the Netherlands.