Both companies are collaborating with Israel-based Mobileye to provide shuttle vehicles with level 4 SAE autonomous driving systems.
The Mobileye driving platform enables autonomous driving using a specially designed EyeQ processor and redundant camera and radar sensor system that will aid in remote monitoring.
The new level 4 autonomous vehicle is 5 meters long, 2.2 meters wide, and 2.8 meters tall.
It will weigh approximately 5,000 kg (11,000 lbs) and have a payload capacity of 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs).
Additionally, it will operate at a maximum speed of 70 km/h (43 mph) and be able to cover over 100 km (62 miles) on a single charge, with a daily range of over 350 km (217 miles).
It will also feature a large door and a ramp for wheelchair access.
Production of thousands of vehicles at VDL facilities in the Netherlands is expected by 2030.
According to the roadmap, vehicle testing on streets is likely to be possible from 2025 onwards.
Notably, as the first country in Europe to approve SAE level 4 for use on public roads, Germany could be the first place where the newly developed and manufactured shuttles will operate.
However, demand for autonomous transport services is expected to take off in the coming years, especially in major cities across Europe, North America, and Asia.
Willem van der Leegte, CEO and President of VDL Groep, said: «Autonomous shuttles are going to play a significant role in our future mobility needs.»
«This vehicle concept fits perfectly into our comprehensive mobility solution covering design, electrification, connectivity, autonomy, and services. Of course, this planned cooperation is also a fantastic opportunity to pioneer and innovate with our esteemed partners Schaeffler and Mobileye,» he added.
Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG, commented: «Autonomous shuttle vehicles will become integral elements of modern mobility ecosystems. They will transport people safely, quickly, and conveniently, increasing accessibility to mobility for everyone living in urban and rural areas.»
«At Schaeffler, we want to support this development sustainably with the best system engineering and innovative automotive technology. This goal is best achieved with strong partners. We are more than happy to partner with VDL Groep and Mobileye,» he added.
It’s worth noting that the Schaeffler Group, headquartered in Germany, offers components and system solutions for both vehicles, including drivetrains based on internal combustion engines and hybrid and electric vehicles.
VDL Groep, on the other hand, based in the Netherlands, specializes in the development, production, and sale of semi-finished products, buses and coaches, and other end products.»