Autonomous Buses for Public Transportation
Improving Operational Efficiency of Autonomous Mobility
An effective public transit system is the cornerstone to a thriving and growing community. As cities and their surrounding suburbs become more densely populated, the necessity to facilitate the movement of their citizens in an efficient, safe and environmentally responsible manner becomes paramount to municipal officials. Only public mass transit – with vehicles that accommodate more passengers, consume fewer resources, and take up less space – is positioned to deliver on these goals of human transport. LILEE Systems is working with city planners around the world to develop next generation IoT and networking solutions to solve these global challenges. By integrating a smarter connected transit infrastructure, LILEE Systems is helping pilot autonomous vehicle programs for the smart cities of today and tomorrow.
LILEE Systems relies heavily on its extensive experience supporting vital real-time rail transportation systems. Since 2009 LILEE Systems has been using advanced connected vehicle technology to safely manage communications and interoperability for the heavy rail industry. LILEE is now leveraging those vigorous systems to develop new ways to safely deploy mobility solutions onto dedicated roadways.
In Taiwan, LILEE Systems has effectively reimagined the use of Communications Based Train Control (CBTC), a proven rail safety technology, into its autonomous bus solution. LILEE Systems conceived this notion of autonomous buses on ‘virtual tracks’ by leveraging years of experience involving CBTC wireless technology. This concept is now becoming a reality in Taichung City. Initial testing of the system is showing outstanding results. By repurposing existing city buses and shuttles with Drive-By-Wire (DBW) controls and Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) such as: smart sensors, cameras, GPS and LiDAR, LILEE Systems is transforming conventional buses into smarter autonomous vehicles. LILEE Systems has successfully demonstrated a quicker and more cost effective go-to-market strategy for cities wanting to make the leap to modernization through autonomous transit.
Equipping the autonomous buses with LILEE Systems TransAir series of hardware, not only provides the necessary onboard computing power but also delivers the robust always-on connectivity required to safely network the transit grid. These modular communication gateways provide a scalable future-proof solution for growing smarter cities with increasingly complex control centers. LILEE Systems T-Cloud ensures an efficient utilization of remote autonomous vehicles and assets via the cloud-based portal.
There are several major milestones that must be achieved when deploying a successful autonomous vehicle program. First, the onboard system accumulates IMU data from an array of onboard devices to comprehend its current location, operational state and the nature of its surroundings. The collected information is then cross referenced against a high-definition, predefined map and routing directives to determine the best-path to achieve operational goals. Next, utilizing the latest onboard compute the system integrates Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to determine a safe and effective course of action.
The vehicle also Interacts directly with its onboard Vehicle Control Unit (VCU) in real-time to execute all necessary mechanical actions known as the “four pillars” of vehicle operation: Steering, Shifting, Acceleration, and Braking. Finally, the vehicle communicates with fixed-location roadside assets – known as Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) – to achieve tasks such as traffic signal priority and understanding possible safety concerns within intersections.
By continually monitoring data feeds and the environment, the mainframe ensures the safety of passengers, pedestrians, and drivers. The system is in constant communication with a central operational control room, for remote monitoring and emergency actions. Ideally once all the milestones are successfully achieved, the vehicle will be able to perform regular revenue service without the need for a human driver/operator onboard.
LILEE Systems acts as a facilitator by assembling a consortium of experienced partners. LILEE Systems strongly believes there is not one company that has the capability and experience to single-handedly launch such a complex project. LILEE Systems believes in the practice of gathering exceptional partners to ensure a successful program. Partners need to be nimble, fast, and focused on whatever it takes to achieve customer success.
With a reasonable infrastructure investment, this method has shown to be a quicker and economical way to roll out autonomous vehicles within the fleet and enjoy the benefits of reduced operational costs. Transportation providers with fixed route, first mile, last mile, theme and corporate parks can all benefit from this virtual track autonomous technology. Dynamic dispatching can be implemented based on ridership using the flexible CBTC technology. Savings in CAPEX and OPEX can help reduce government subsidies.