Autonomous Ridepooling to Support the Traffic Turnaround

Simulation of ridepooling vehicles with mobiTopp for researching the effects of autonomous traffic (Fig.: MOIA Simulation)

Simulation of ridepooling vehicles with mobiTopp for researching the effects of autonomous traffic (Fig.: MOIA Simulation)

Federal government funds project in the model region of Hamburg - KIT researchers are investigating the behavior of users of mobility offers

This article was first published on

New mobility offers such as ridepooling could relieve pressure on city centers, reduce emissions and offer passengers more flexibility. The “Autonomous Ridepooling” (ALIKE) project, in which researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are also involved, is developing an on-demand transport service with autonomous shuttle buses in Hamburg’s road traffic. ALIKE bundles the competencies of mobility providers and partners from the vehicle industry and science. The Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport is funding the project with 26 million euros.

Up to 10,000 autonomous shuttles could be on Hamburg's streets by 2030. With a modern on-demand transport offer, a mobility solution is to be created in the Hanseatic city that expands the classic public transport of buses and trains with a new product. The system should be easy for passengers to book and use, ideally scalable across regions and also transferable to rural areas.

Autonomous ridepooling is intended to close the gap between actual mobility needs in many life situations and public transport. For the first time, the consortium partners will develop and build a complete system for booking and using up to 20 autonomous vehicles in public transport in Hamburg. The vehicles will be integrated into an on-demand service in order to test them in real operation and make them digitally bookable for users via apps. The project results are intended to create the basis for future commercial deployment and scaling of autonomous ridepooling services.

Impact of autonomous vehicles on traffic and passengers

Researchers from the KIT Institute for Transport (IfV) are investigating how the Hamburg population accepts the new offer. In doing so, they build on the accompanying research in the MOIA project , in which they were able to show that car traffic in Hamburg could be reduced by up to eight percent under certain conditions with ridepooling offers. The specially developed simulation tool mobiTopp will also be used at ALIKE. “This is where the first autonomous vehicles are being integrated into public transport on a large scale. We are investigating how people behave with autonomous ridepooling offers,” explains Dr. Martin Kagerbauer from IfV. Ridepooling can be operated more economically with autonomous vehicles. This also strengthens mobility away from private cars, according to the mobility researcher. Using the data from these surveys, he and his team then further develop the MOIA traffic model with mobiTopp. “The more data we collect on different forms of mobility in our model, the better we can understand and advance the transport transition.”

The Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport is supporting the project with 26 million euros. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing handed over the funding decision today (October 23, 2023) in Hamburg.

Partner in ALIKE

In addition to HOCHBAHN as consortium leader, the project consortium includes the on-demand service MOIA, the vehicle manufacturers HOLON and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, KIT as a research partner and the Hamburg Authority for Transport and Mobility Transition.

KIT is one of the biggest research and education institutions worldwide and has the potential of reaching a top position in selected research areas on an international level. The objective is to turn KIT into an institution of top research, excellent scientific education, and a prominent location ...