On August 22nd, the Region of Hannover, together with Pendel Mobility, inaugurated a new autonomous vehicle project. We took the time to sit down with Christian Riester to chat and learn more about it.
Hi Christian! It’s great to take the time to sit and discuss this new milestone, for both the Hannover Region and Pendel Mobility. To get started, could you introduce us to the pilot project in Hannover ?
The objective of this pilot is to test an autonomous shuttle during low-peak hours as a substitution to the large bus.
Interesting! You have been preparing this project for quite some time, could you let us know what have been the main challenges associated with this deployment ?
The preparation of the pilot had to involve municipal services of both cities (Hannover and Garbsen), therefore doubling the coordination effort. It was challenging to understand and identify responsibilities for various aspects of the pilot (from land management to legal questions) and to manage the various stakeholders to solve practical & operational questions. Besides, regulatory procedures had to be met. For example, the “exemption to operate” can take up to two months to obtain, but we actually got it in two days in Hannover ; a great effort by the local team!
Also, the route is very challenging, as it is a single lane going over a bridge, meaning it is very difficult to overtake the shuttle which goes at a maximum speed of only 15km/h. The route has been limited to 30km/h for the pilot, but was initially 50km/h, with drivers usually exceeding the limit. It did create some frustation from some car drivers.
Testing today already helps transport planners to shape their plans and budget for the next decade.
These projects, therefore, have a very strategic value. What is your role as Pendel Mobility and what do you bring to your clients in this ecosystem?
We are a service integrator for autonomous vehicles for public transport and private organisations, focusing on passenger transportation, logistics and delivery of goods and street and facility management. We prepare, organise and evaluate autonomous vehicle projects, by providing the strategic link between our clients and the technology partners.