Analysis of the use of technologies for autonomous driving in the road operation service on federal motorways

Road maintenance staff, especially on federal motorways, often find themselves in potentially life-threatening situations during their work. Even though great efforts are made to protect the employees, severe accidents with other road users occur repeatedly. Autonomous or automated technologies can significantly increase the safety of operating personnel, as has already been demonstrated in the aFAS project (automatic driverless safety vehicle for road works on federal motorways).

AETAS BAB aims to identify use cases for the deployment of automated, networked machines and vehicles and their decisive operating conditions in road operation services on federal motorways. AlbrechtConsult, together with the Steinbeis Transferzentrum Infrastrukturmanagement im Verkehrswesen (IMV) and KoDeCs GmbH, was appointed by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) to carry out the potential analysis.

For the industry, it is currently open which use cases and which conditions of use are relevant for further development. The market potential is limited and the benefits can only be guaranteed through application-oriented development by involving the stakeholders in the road operation service.

The potential applications for the identified use cases are to be identified. The results should enable the industry to continue the development of automated, networked machines and vehicles for road maintenance services on motorways so that they are available on the market for the road authorities following their requirements. The results will be published and thus made available free of competition.

Within the framework of the project, which will run until June 2022, research projects that have already been completed and are currently in progress were analysed, a market analysis was carried out, a requirement analysis was drawn up in cooperation with employees in the operational service, and on this basis, a first set of use cases was created. In an expert workshop in November 2021, which was also attended by practitioners from motorway maintenance services and representatives from the industry, the use cases were discussed and those were highlighted which, from the user’s point of view, bring the greatest benefit (efficiency and safety gain) and at the same time are easy to implement for the industry in terms of implementation effort/time as well as functional and cyber security.

The next steps in the project are to assess the overall potential of the individual use cases, evaluate their feasibility and prepare the corresponding specifications and the final report.