Autonomous on-demand buses to be tested in five European cities

The initial tests will run in Gjesdal (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) in the spring and autumn of 2020, and pilots will also later be launched in Lamia (Greece) and Helmond (the Netherlands)

- Gjesdal, Norway
Autonomous on-demand buses to be tested in five European cities

Autonomous buses will be tested in real-life traffic conditions in five European cities between April and October 2020, as three international consortia have been awarded with contracts for the final phase of the pre-commercial procurement under the EU-funded FABULOS project (Pre-Commercial Procurement of Future autonomous bus urban level Operation Systems).

The consortia – the Sensible 4 – Shotl Consortium, the Mobile Civitatem Consortium and the Saga Consortium -will pilot autonomous buses as part of the existing public transport systems. During the demonstrations, the functionality, interoperability and security of the autonomous fleets will be evaluated. “All the pilots will take place in urban settings, but each pilot location has its own special challenges. In Gjesdal, there is a 12 per cent incline due to the mountainous terrain, whereas in Lamia high temperatures must be successfully managed,” read a statement on the project website.

In the Netherlands the large number of cyclists must be taken into consideration and in Helsinki the route passes the second busiest train station in the country. In Tallinn, the connection to the airport will be improved, leading to challenges with factors such as existing bus traffic,” it continued.

The same statement noted that in all pilot sites, “the shuttle services will be tested to ensure the functionality of remote operability from the control room. Furthermore, the buses must be able to autonomously overtake obstacles such as parked cars. The shuttles are expected to be driverless, and a safety person will only be allowed on board if local regulations require this.”

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