Until the end of February, our driverless vehicle will be in Zurich, about 50 kilometres from home in Neuhausen. The reason for this is that Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich (VBZ) have borrowed Trapizio for testing. To this end, they have temporarily renamed our automated vehicle and also given it a new look. For more information about the exciting test phase in Zurich, please check the press release here.
Together with vehicle manufacturer Navya, the whole AMoTech team has played a major role in ensuring that the test phase actually could take place in Zurich. The following brief description indicates the various activities that were necessary in advance, all completed within just two weeks:
First of all, the route around the VBZ depot had to be read in to the vehicle's system, with assistance provided by our Navya engineer from France. Given that these are private premises, we were able to drive along the intended test route several times without any interruptions and save the route in the vehicle. For about one month, Trapizio now has a new map with new stops. In contrast to the SIG premises in Neuhausen, this time the automated vehicle can also use GPS to find its way around, thanks to the large open space available at the depot. After programming the route, our shuttle was then given a new VBZ-style look.
A few days before the trials began, the VBZ staff had to be made familiar with the automated vehicle, as this is new technology for most of them. Those who were designated in advance to act as attendants during the one-month trials were now trained by us on site, with a look at both the theoretical and practical aspects of handling the driverless vehicle. Manual driving was an important part of the training because this demands great sensitivity and practice. Manual driving is naturally not intended to be used to operate the vehicle all the time. It serves merely to get around a stationary hindrance and to return to the virtual rail again afterwards. After the staff training, everyone now has the necessary know-how to operate the vehicle and knows what has to be done in the event of an emergency.
We are very pleased that Trapizio has this opportunity to gain new experience before the major trade-fair (IT-TRANS) which will be taking place this March in Karlsruhe, and look forward to the reactions from Zurich.