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The Autonomous Shuttle Developed by Schaeffler and VDL Groep With Help From Mobileye

Autonomous Shuttle Innovation through a Schaeffler, VDL Groep, and Mobileye Teamup

The world of autonomous driving is expanding faster than ever before. It is no longer an imagination reserved for science fiction movies, as real-life companies are working to take such technologies to the road. One such group is German supplier Schaeffler and Holland's VDL Groep, who have announced plans to create an autonomous electric shuttle. The shuttle is set to be released in 2025 and comes with state-of-the-art autonomous driving technology from Mobileye. In this blog, we'll look at this exciting collaboration and what it means to the future of autonomous vehicles.

Schaeffler is a world-renowned supplier of components for electrified powertrains such as engines and hybrid systems. They also have their hands in chainless e-bike technology:

Schaeffler plans to provide the chassis with a battery and steer-by-wire system while VDL develops the bus body systems. The partnership has sought the expertise of Mobileye, a leading autonomous driving tech provider, to create the shuttle's autonomous hardware and software. The tech setup includes lidar, radar, and cameras necessary for Level 4 driving. This level of automation means that the shuttle is fully autonomous without human assistance unless necessary, making for a safer and smoother driving experience.

The autonomous electric shuttle from Schaeffler and VDL Groep comes at an opportune time. There is a rising demand for public transportation systems that reduce congestion, and autonomous shuttles could be the perfect solution. Never is this more apparent than in cities like New York, where the threat of a congestion tax is being proposed. Cruise, Volkswagen, and other companies are also working on similar shuttles with fixed or constantly changing routes depending on passengers' needs. The shuttle can carry multiple passengers and will be summoned via an app, improving passenger experiences while keeping vehicles moving. The ID. Buzz, a similar shuttle, is planned to take to the streets of Germany in 2024 under the carmaker's MOIA unit.

One of the critical features of the Schaeffler and VDL Groep partnership is the provision of a fully electric vehicle. It is an essential feature as electric vehicles leave a minimal carbon footprint. The shuttle's power consumption will be closely monitored to ensure sustainability. Advancements in battery technology are continuously pushing the boundaries, making the future of electric vehicles even brighter. As technology improves, so will vehicle ranges and charging time while providing a comfortable driving experience.

Proposed Specifications: The collaboration between these three companies has brought the following specifications to the forefront.

  • The shuttles will have nine seats, six fixed and three flexible.

  • The shuttle will have a payload of around 2204 lbs (1,000 kg).

  • Two integrated independent sensing systems: one camera-based and one radar-/lidar-based.

  • Large entry/exit doors and a low entry step.

  • Top speed: 43 mph (70 km/h)

  • Wheelchair Accessible

  • Range: over 217 miles (350 km) per day and 62 miles (100 km) on a single battery charge.

Potentially, a shuttle of this nature could be tailored for the in-road charging technology being developed:

With technology advancing, autonomous electric transportation is not just a dream of the future but also a thrilling reality. The partnership between Schaeffler, VDL Groep, and Mobileye is just a blueprint of what is to come. Future developments should consider the impact on the environment and the benefits of making transportation more accessible, convenient, and eco-friendly.

Conclusion: The advent of autonomous electric shuttles is just another step towards a more sustainable future, marking the slow phase-out of the fossil fuel era. Companies like Schaeffler, VDL Groep, and Mobileye, among others, are laying the foundations for better-quality transportation systems that improve experiences and are more planet-friendly. While the technology behind autonomous electric shuttles is relatively new, the benefits of these vehicles have captured the public's imagination, making them a welcome change to traditional transportation modes. The future is indeed electric, and with advancements in battery technology and intelligent transportation, it's sure to be a thrilling ride.


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