Autonomous shuttle FLASH starts pilot operation

14.07.2022  — 

In summer, swimming lakes are popular destinations that promise cooling off and relaxing hours. However, very few people will be chauffeured to these oases of well-being by an autonomous shuttle. Things are different in the german district of Nordsachsen. The Driverless Automated Shuttle FLASH is now driving there.

District Administrator of Nordsachsen Kai Emanuel, Ines Fröhlich, State Secretary for Digitalisation and Mobility at Saxony’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, and IAV CEO Matthias Kratzsch launched the pilot operation of the self-driving bus, which can transport up to 20 passengers. FLASH is driving now every Thursday to Sunday between the Rackwitz S-Bahn station and Schladitzer Bucht, which is thus connected to the public transport network for the first time. The journey takes around 15 minutes.

Kratzsch / Flash
At the start of the pilot operation, Matthias Kratzsch (left) underlined the importance of autonomous mobility concepts for rural areas. Behind him are District Administrator Kai Emanuel and State Secretary Ines Fröhlich.

With up to 70 km/h to swimming happiness

Already in test operation, the shuttle will travel automatically at up to 70 kilometres per hour. For safety reasons, however, a vehicle attendant will be on board at all times and can switch from automatic to manual operation. In the FLASH project, which started in 2019, the IAV team was responsible for converting the bus to autonomous driving mode and for ensuring the reliability of the entire vehicle.
After completing the pilot phase in 2023, FLASH is to be integrated into the district’s regular scheduled services.