Cross-programme project on autonomous driving
In the summer semester 2019, 19 students from the Civil Engineering and Infrastructure Management courses of study worked on the question of what effects the change in mobility will have on the development of a city in rural areas as part of an interdisciplinary project. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lutz Gaspers and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Leyla Chakar were responsible for the content. The project work was approached using the method of Problem and Project Oriented Work (POL). For this part the group was accompanied by Robert Gandert, who supports this kind of learning and teaching as a didactics expert in Faculty B.
The Streutal-Allianz in Lower Franconia, to which the town of Mellrichstadt and surrounding towns and communities belong, was won as a project partner. "What effects does the introduction of autonomous driving have on Mellrichstadt and its surroundings" was the question posed by the students. This is not an easy question.
In order to answer the question, the students first had to deal with possible methods and the prerequisites of their work. To achieve this, autonomous driving and mobility had to be thought of. In the seminar, traffic was then identified as earmarked. For one semester, the students formed five cross-degree working groups: Education, social, leisure, work, shopping, which reflected the main mobility purposes.
Scenarios should be developed to illustrate possible effects of autonomous driving. One should assume semi-autonomous and the other fully autonomous driving. In order to project current events onto such a situation, it was necessary to collect data on current traffic. For this purpose, the students created questions for an on-site and an online survey.
During the first visit to Mellrichstadt, traffic behaviour at key points such as schools, local businesses and individual shops was surveyed and the attitude towards autonomy was also recorded. In detail and at well-chosen locations, the students were able to explore details in Mellrichstadt and collect relevant information and even quantitative data.
In the next step, the students used the information and data collected to develop a situation analysis. Each working group was able to consider specific characteristics of Mellrichstadt. In an autonomously driving school bus, for example, the bus driver familiar to the children might be missing. Now two scenarios for Mellrichstadt have been processed.
In the grand finale of the project at the beginning of July 2019, the students were able to present their results to interested citizens from Mellrichstadt in the local market hall. Each group designed posters. After presentations by all five working groups, the guests were able to choose interesting topics and obtain more detailed information in conversation with the local press.
The students worked out the local chances and possibilities. Autonomous driving has not proved to be a panacea for rural development issues. In doing so, the students relied on facts that had been gathered and on their conclusions. However, nothing stands in the way of the targeted use of the technology for specific targets in Mellrichstadt as well.
Project Report "Mellrichstadt