Bad Birnbach – User Acceptance of Automated Shuttles as Part of Public Transport in Rural Environments

Since 2017, the Bavarian town of Bad Birnbach hosts the first automated shuttle operating in everyday traffic in Germany. The project, administered by Deutsche Bahn (DB Regio) tests the applicability of automated vehicles as part of public transportation. The shuttle in operation (Easymile EZ10) connects the town center with the local recreation and wellness center. In cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, the Human-Computer Interaction Group conducted two user studies to evaluate user acceptance, trust, and user experience of the shuttle. In the first study, a comparison of the shuttle with classical manual taxis was performed. Results showed, that peoples’ attitude towards the shuttle is generally positive, however, future improvements (such as higher speeds) will be necessary to convince the whole population. The second experiment investigated real-life interactions between the shuttle and pedestrians, with the aim to derive requirements for a future automated vehicle to pedestrian communication systems. Results indicate that potential users expect simple interaction modalities already well known from traffic (such as traffic lights or horns).


Additional Content:

Man vs. Machine – Comparing a Fully Automated Shuttle with a Group Taxi 
(AutoUI Best Video Award, Toronto, 2018)

Project Coordinator

Deutsche Bahn DB Regio

Project Duration

June 2018 – June 2019