31. Aachen Colloquium Sustainable Mobility
Shared Space sidewalk – Robots and pedestrians side by side – how can it work?
T. Lennartz, L. Eckstein, M. Reske, T. Böddeker, Y. Ostad - ika, RWTH Aachen University
The European Union is proclaiming to become climate-neutral in 2050 and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent until 2030 compared to 1990.  These ambitious goals also affect cities and their traffic systems, as well as the automotive industry, which must succeed in building zero-emission vehicles by 2035.  The cur-rent efforts for clean and smart cities, equalization of traffic and the reduction of emissions lead to new mobility concepts for road-based traffic but also for the sidewalk. In the next few years, not only e-scooters shape urban transport, but also new autonomously driving mobile robots could join the sidewalk. New concepts of mobile robots, operating on sidewalks, are constantly being presented, which could change the transport of goods within city centers . They offer the possibility to shift parts of the freight off the road and relieve the overloaded infrastructure, or can be used as personal aids for transporting heavy goods. However, the emerging concepts are facing a multitude of challenges. Since they represent a new vehicle class, they need to establish themselves on the sidewalk first. In analogy to highly automated vehicles, they operate driverless, so the level of interpersonal communication is absent. Especially to manage and negotiate right-of-way situations with other pedestrians, they need supplementary systems to communicate their intentions. Within this paper, the need for external Human Machine Interaction (eHMI) systems that allow mobile robots to communicate with other road participants is derived. Therefore, a comparison to car traffic is drawn and the differences and additional requirements for communication on side-walks are discussed. Finally, initial requirements and degrees of design freedom of such systems are laid out.
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