At the end of March, a major step towards verifying the autonomous vehicle future took place in the Bavarian town of Kelheim. With a combined effort from the municipality, German government, and a consortium of partners in the fields of autonomous vehicles, fleet management, and on-demand mobility, KelRide, an autonomous, on-demand transport service, began operating with a goal to develop autonomous capabilities in the region. According to the report, the autonomous infrastructure will fully implemented by 2023.

Where there's autonomous infrastructure there's an Israeli company

This project marks a major milestone for not only Germany’s autonomous future but the world’s as well. For the first time, Germans will be able to book via designated app an on-demand autonomous shuttle service. The project will help solidify autonomous capabilities in harsh weather conditions, and attempt to develop a roadmap that will enable highly autonomous vehicles to play an important role in real-world transit operations.

But how do you manage an autonomous public transport system? Glad you asked. An Israeli startup leading the way in TransitTech will be in charge of coordinating booking, routing, passenger and vehicle assignment, customer experience, and fleet management. Via will look to leverage its smart technologies and vast experience in the fleet and passenger management field to help integrate autonomous vehicles into the public transport grid.

“We are delighted to be able to work with partners and build on Via’s technology platform to realize an innovation project that is unique in Germany, and which promises to be groundbreaking for a new generation of highly flexible, autonomous public transport,” says Valerie von der Tann, Via General Manager Germany. “It is especially beneficial for municipalities in rural areas. On-demand, autonomous solutions within the framework of public transport will represent a great opportunity to radically improve access to mobility and to ensure the connection,” she adds.

Traditional public transport, and even early autonomous shuttles operated as a pre-scheduled service on a fixed route. Via, along with the consortium of partners, will introduce dynamic real-time routing and scheduling at scale, adjusting to weather conditions, passenger demand, and other changing obstacles. Other than its futuristic impact, the project will also provide a live test case, showing how to seamlessly integrate an autonomous grid into a city’s existing public transport system.