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August 4, 2023
German operator Deutsche Telekom and MIRA are playing around with the ‘shuttle service of the future’ in Bonn.
Teleoperation is another term for remote driving, and the release waxes on about how crucial 5G is to enabling the transmission of large volumes of data in real time from the vehicle to the remote-control station, allowing the remote driving test to take place.
The project, taking place on the test track at the operator’s headquarters, is partly there to throw up some insights into the requirements for network slicing and ‘quality on demand’ in the context of developing driverless vehicles. The ultimate point of the trial seems to be to prove the point that teleoperation can support automated shuttle fleets.
However the release laments that in Germany, remote-controlled journeys are currently still regulated and only permitted on private property or defined test routes, and that the legal framework for teleoperation is currently being defined at national and European level.
Regardless, the firms seem chipper that the trial represents time well spent in order to push the grand vision of vehicles bombing around public roads with no driver.
“We are convinced that teleoperated driving will play an important role in improving the efficiency and sustainability of transport,” said Klaus Kappen, CEO of MIRA GmbH. “By working with Deutsche Telekom AG, we can develop innovative solutions for the mobility of the future and test them on public roads today.”
Bonn’s mayor Katja Dörner added: “Bicycle, bus, light rail and streetcar – Bonn already stands for modern and climate-friendly mobility services. We are pleased to be one of the first cities in Germany to enable tests for an innovative shuttle service: remote-controlled vehicles. Passengers will save time. Shuttle operations will become more efficient. Teleoperation can become a building block of our Bonn mobility turnaround in the future. With strong public transport and safe, attractive services for everyone.”
Getting the technology right may only half the battle to making automated or remote controlled vehicles a thing in Europe in any meaningful way. There is plenty of regulatory and standardisation complexity to wade through, particularly when it comes to crossing borders. And while there are a ton of different trials and groups working on cracking the nut, it’s safe to say we’re a fair bit away from putting our feet up in the backseat as our cars ferry us around.
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