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For more than 40 years, it has been our vision to make technological progress instantly available for public transport – so that it becomes more efficient and attractive. In various work areas, INIT spares no effort to put this vision into action. Our employees work in close collaboration with our customers to leverage their insights, and participate in standardization projects. At the same time, our passionate Research & Development team collaborates with renowned partners on finding the solutions to the challenges of tomorrow’s public transport.
INIT’s research topics
Our vision of tomorrow’s mobility is a transport system, which integrates a variety of transport modes and allows effortless use of and change between all these modes while providing maximum comfort for the passengers. Furthermore, we envision it to work smoothly and sustainably, and to be operated cost- and resource-efficiently. By participating in various research projects, we are getting closer and closer to that vision and have taken an active role in creating the trends in public transport.
Current research projects
The protection of personal data is very important to INIT and great efforts are made to ensure data protects through many applications. For both ethical and economic reasons, there is an interest in developing and using safer and more efficient methods of anonymization. In the research project ANYMOS, therefore, a data protection-compliant utilization of MaaS booking and user data as well as optically recorded demand data should be achieved with the help of selected anonymization processes for the purpose of continuous improvement of the offer and user advice.
The DaKiMo research project aims to demonstrate how mobility data can be processed with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and enriched with additional data on traffic conditions or weather for example. The purpose of this is to create intelligent information services for citizens and the economy. The ultimate goal is to promote resource-efficient, sustainable mobility and to contribute to transport turnaround processes. As part of the project, INIT will contribute its expertise in public transport data structures and with its project partners, will process the different data from the mobility environment using AI methods.
The project KARL (Artificial Intelligence for Work and Learning in the Karlsruhe region) examines the impact of artificial intelligence on the work environment and business organizations. The aim of the project is to design and test human-centered, transparent and learning supportive AI-assisted work and learning systems. INIT will analyze AI-based assistants to support dispatchers.
The aim of the KIMonoS research project (an AI-based Mobility-on-Demand platform in Saarland) is to implement parts of the public transport system according to demand and to integrate them into the public transport network. With the help of the innovative routing algorithm and virtual stops, a prototype for an operation in rural areas with ridesharing is being implemented. In this way, the needs of passengers in rural areas can be better served and public transport can react more flexibly to demands.
Transport organizations and local authorities face growing challenges due to the increase in traffic within cities. As part of this project, a tram prototype will be developed for the largely automated goods transport sector. INIT is leading the research into an innovative information and communication platform, which will ensure the secure, reliable and economical transportation of goods using the public transport network.
Mobile Data Fusion
The aim of the research project Mobile Data Fusion is to develop a proper method for analyzing the current demand of passengers. In collaboration with several partners, INIT examined how the fusion of different data sources can support the development of both target-oriented and customer-focused public transport services. Possible sources used may be data from automatic passenger counting systems, WIFI and Bluetooth data, inquiries to information systems, as well as network and meteorological data. The research part of this project ended in 2022. Mobile Data Fusion is currently deployed in operations at the NVV in Kassel till 2025.
The aim of SDIKA (Secure Digital Identities showcase, Karlsruhe) is to connect people, organizations and processes with secure and cross-application ID solutions. To achieve this, the focus is on digital sovereignty and interoperability so that people and organizations can choose from various options to control their own data. INIT offers specific mobility applications which typically connect the mobility platform regiomove to emerging SDI infrastructure.
Voice assistants are already prominent in our living rooms and they increasingly facilitate our daily life. For the economy and its specific requirements, a leading German-made B2B voice assistant platform is expected to emerge from the SPEAKER research project. As the worldwide leader of integrated IT solutions for public transport, INIT will test and demonstrate the SPEAKER platform’s suitability for industry-specific cases.
The use of comprehensive real-time information and an expansion in modes of transport should make public transport more attractive and reduce car usage in urban areas. The name U-hoch-3 stands for u³ and derives from the three alliterative German words “unbeschwert urban unterwegs”, literally meaning enjoying public transport with a peace of mind. INIT contributes to the project by developing precise capacity utilization forecasts for buses and trains, based on its successful automated passenger counting system. In large-scaled tests, this information will be made available for all users to explore changes in mobility patterns.
ÖV-LeitmotiF-KI aims to develop a safety-compliant and standardized reference model that integrates autonomous vehicles into public transport’s operational processes, taking into account artificial intelligence. INIT will implement reference architecture as well as selected AI use cases and validate them in field tests.
From 2012 to 2015, a research team laid the foundation for intelligent, innovative and integrated bus systems. By systematizing a multitude of already existing research data, they created the basis for future research focusing on innovative urban bus systems which can soon be available in public transport.
aim4it was a research project to develop a public transport system that provides barrier-free access for passengers with special mobility needs. The project started in 2014 and was completed in 2016. Its findings were the basis for the follow-up project INK 2016.
From 2017 to 2018, the project DiMo-FuH pursued the goal of standardizing various communication processes. First, the project team was concerned with the communication between the vehicle and its surroundings, including for example the control center and passenger devices. Second, the researchers drafted a standard for how the entities at a stop communicate with each other and to a third-party system.
In the DiMo-OMP project, running from 2017 to 2018, a framework architecture for an intermodal travel information and booking platform with standardized interfaces was developed. The project team built a comprehensive system of interfaces enabling public transport services to exchange various data. This way, a single app can provide the available travel options, real-time information as well as booking and payment scheme across borders.
From 2008 to 2013, the project EBSF (European Bus System of the Future) aimed at developing a new generation of urban bus systems adapted to the requirements of European cities. The researchers concentrated on developing new technologies on vehicles and infrastructure in combination with operational best practices, and testing them in real operational scenarios within eight European cities.
The primary focus of the European research project EBSF_2 was to provide evidence that interoperability between different manufacturers' systems can be ensured by means of European standards. The research team focused on the over-the-air interface between the vehicle and the control center and the interfaces within the vehicle. The project started in 2015 and was completed in 2018.
Within the framework of the Austrian project INK 2016, the findings of the preceding research project aim4it were further on specified. The project started in 2016 and was completed in 2018. The research activities focused on the interfaces between the vehicle and mobile devices of the passengers. Additionally, the project team advanced the implementation of a solution on a Bluetooth basis.
The research project InREAKT, running from 2013 till 2016, pursued the goal of automatically identifying safety-critical situations and emergencies in a public transport system. A comprehensive system of sensors detects incidents and transmits alerts to an event management system in the control center of the transport company. The system then triggers the right chain of events and work flows to cope with the detected incidents.
IP-KOM-ÖV was a research project to develop standardized communication services for public transport based on the internet protocol. The research team defined interfaces and architectures that sustainably improve the access to passenger information. The project started in 2010 and was completed in 2014.
The aim of iQMobility was to integrate autonomous buses into the public transport network. The project started in 2016 and was completed in 2020. Specifically, an automated public transport system prototype was developed, using city buses at full capacity and in regular service. INIT's part in the project – the integration of autonomous buses into the fleet management system – is demonstrated in this video.
In partnership with the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) and SG Enable, INIT developed a mobile app to support public transport passengers who are visually handicapped, hearing-impaired or have limited mobility. In the MAVIS app, passengers can plan their trips individually and receive assistance throughout their journey, e.g., through internal and external announcements. Additionally, bus drivers are notified when an impaired rider is waiting or needs assistance boarding.
The MENDEL research project helps to prepare public transport for the introduction of electromobility. It aimed to implement and optimize the planning and operation of electric busses while minimizing the strain on the energy network. New algorithms take into account the special requirements in order to provide cost-efficient charging infrastructure. The project started in 2016 and was finished in 2019.
In 2017, several project partners launched regiomove. The project aimed to propel mobility in the whole Mittlerer Oberrhein (Middle Upper Rhine Valley) region in Germany by integrating as many mobility services as possible into a single planning and booking platform. Karlsruhe’s public transport passengers have the opportunity to receive intermodal travel suggestions – by foot, tram, bus, bicycle and car sharing – and to select, reserve and pay their entire ride directly in the regiomove app. The project has been nominated for one of the special prizes of the German Sustainability Award (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis). It was completed in 2020.
From 2017 to 2020, the German-French research project U-THREAT aimed to increase the safety in subway systems. The project developed concepts and technical solutions to restore the normal operation after interruptions of any kind. Afterwards measures were developed to increase resilience in the relevant areas of operation, structure and users. These developed innovations from U-THREAT are supposed to ensure that passengers can be transported more reliably and safely in the future.
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Head of Department Research and Technology (INIT GmbH)
Director Research and Product Strategy (INIT SE)