From Dreieich to Seligenstadt with a driverless minibus?

Book the vehicle and pay for the journey via app?

No more hassle with unfriendly but unfamiliar chauffeurs?

future music?

Yes, yes.

But the first tones are softly audible.

The first driverless shuttle buses should be on the road in Darmstadt and in the Offenbach district as early as next year.

A mixture of vision and adventure that the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) wants to make reality.

RMV intends to use at least 15 on-demand vehicles in regular operation.

They should maneuver autonomously, i.e. only with the help of cameras, laser and radar sensors.

First of all, an operator will ride in the electrically operated shuttle buses, who can intervene in an emergency.

However, this is to be dispensed with as early as the beginning of 2024.

In this way, the transport companies save money for drivers who are desperately wanted on the job market anyway.

The pressure is great

Users of the offer have to pay a basic price and a sum based on the length of the journey.

And because it is state-subsidized, it will probably be well below the fee for a comparable taxi ride.

It's no wonder that taxi operators are annoyed by the threat of cheap competition.

Especially when they get used to the idea that automatically operated on-demand buses could be on the road throughout the RMV tariff area in just a few years.

With a law on autonomous driving that came into force in the middle of last year, essential prerequisites for the routine use of automated vehicles have already been created.

In terms of insurance law, there are still a number of things to be clarified before the driverless RMV fleet can be launched in Darmstadt and around Offenbach.

But the pressure to find solutions quickly is great.

Autonomous driving on demand would be a significant improvement in public transport services;

especially at night and in the country, where many people are currently still dependent on compromises such as carpooling.

Technically, some things are still in flux.

The RMV speaks of "moving along in traffic" because the maximum speed of the self-driving minibuses is still open.

However, it is said to be significantly more than the 15 kilometers per hour with which the mini-shuttles previously tested in Frankfurt and Bad Soden-Salmünster, among other places, were traveling.

After all, the driverless buses should not obstruct conventional road traffic and their travel times should be competitive.

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