To date, several public transport operators (SBB, PostBus, TPF, TPG) have carried out tests with automated vehicles in Switzerland. While these tests have certainly enabled each operator to acquire valuable technical, operational and organizational know-how, this individualistic approach seems to have reached a "break-even point". Indeed, in the Swiss field, a coordinated approach that has a realistic chance of taking a step forward in implementing a "transport as a service" concept is lacking.

Since public transport in Switzerland plays a key role in mobility, it is appropriate to join forces in this area. Currently, the stumbling block is both economic and technical. From an economic point of view, the operation of automated shuttle buses in the public transport sector will have little future if it is not possible, in the first instance, to replace the driver of one vehicle with a remote driver who drives/monitors several vehicles by remote operation. This substitution will reduce operating costs and create an economic incentive to operate automated shuttles, e.g., for unprofitable transport routes that are poorly or no longer served. From a technical point of view, the challenge is to develop a centralized teleoperation system that allows remote control of automated and connected vehicles while ensuring safety and security (including cybersecurity). The combination of advanced automation of driving systems with new very low latency telecommunications networks is a promising approach for a feasibility project. A third challenge for public transport with teleoperation is social acceptance, especially by users with special needs (e.g., elderly or disabled). In this respect, these social issues will have to be taken into account in all phases of project design.

Demonstrating the technical feasibility of a centralized teleoperation system to remotely control automated vehicles - initially carrying goods and later people - is a key element in developing new business concepts for transport companies. Fribourg has a unique opportunity to profile itself in this sector of activity, which could prove to be very promising in terms of innovation and employment.

Project Partners

HEIA-FR - HEG-FR - UNIFR - Food & Nutrition Cluster - PostBus Switzerland SA - CertX SA - SBB SA - Dynamic Test Center AG - Ruag Schweiz AG - TPF Trafic SA

Project Manager : Prof. Roland Scherwey, HEIA-EN / iSIS Institute

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