Urban Transport

R&D project kicks off autonomous shuttle pilots in Europe

R&D project kicks off autonomo...
Five cities across Europe will test a fleet of self-driving buses in the coming months
Five cities across Europe will test a fleet of self-driving buses in the coming months
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Five cities across Europe will test a fleet of self-driving buses in the coming months
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Five cities across Europe will test a fleet of self-driving buses in the coming months
The autonomous shuttles in the FABULOS pilot won't have a human driver aboard, but can be remotely controlled if necessary
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The autonomous shuttles in the FABULOS pilot won't have a human driver aboard, but can be remotely controlled if necessary
The autonomous shuttle fleet will take a circular route during the 50-day trial period, with customers able to wait at bus stops or schedule on-demand rides via an app
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The autonomous shuttle fleet will take a circular route during the 50-day trial period, with customers able to wait at bus stops or schedule on-demand rides via an app
The three autonomous vehicle prototypes being used in the FABULOS pilots need to operate in all weather conditions
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The three autonomous vehicle prototypes being used in the FABULOS pilots need to operate in all weather conditions
The five cities taking part in the FABULOS pilot project are Helsinki (Finland), Gjesdal (Norway), Tallinn (Estonia), Lamia (Greece) and Helmond (the Netherlands)
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The five cities taking part in the FABULOS pilot project are Helsinki (Finland), Gjesdal (Norway), Tallinn (Estonia), Lamia (Greece) and Helmond (the Netherlands)
The autonomous vehicle prototypes involved in the FABULOS pilot have been developed by Finnish/Spanish company Sensible4-Shotl, a Norwegian/Canadian collaboration called Saga and Mobile Civitatem out of Estonia
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The autonomous vehicle prototypes involved in the FABULOS pilot have been developed by Finnish/Spanish company Sensible4-Shotl, a Norwegian/Canadian collaboration called Saga and Mobile Civitatem out of Estonia
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After 18 months of planning, the Future Automated Bus Urban Level Operation System (FABULOS) project is about to roll into five European cities to field test autonomous last-mile shuttles in real-world conditions.

FABULOS is an EU-funded research and development project that's been running since January 2018 with the aim of developing a proof-of-concept autonomous public transport system that can be integrated into existing city infrastructure. It launched a pilot shuttle service pilot in Helsinki, Finland, last month and will now begin similar trials in Gjesdal (Norway) and Tallinn (Estonia) next month, followed by Lamia (Greece) and Helmond (the Netherlands) later in the year.

The three autonomous vehicle prototypes being used in the FABULOS pilots need to operate in all weather conditions
The three autonomous vehicle prototypes being used in the FABULOS pilots need to operate in all weather conditions

"Helsinki aims to be the most functional city in the world," said Helsinki's Mayor, Jan Vapaavuori. "Innovation to support the best urban life conditions possible is in the core of our strategy. As such, the promotion of sustainable modes of transport is considered as a high priority. We aim for a pleasant environment, good accessibility and fluent transport as well as the reduction of environmental impacts. In my opinion, the FABULOS project can greatly contribute to achieving this goal by demonstrating the benefits of autonomous public transportation."

Each 50-day field trial will test the functionality, interoperability and security of self-driving minibus prototypes from Finnish/Spanish company Sensible4-Shotl, a Norwegian/Canadian collaboration called Saga and Mobile Civitatem out of Estonia.

In the Helsinki pilot, for example, the three vehicle fleet trundles along a circular, mostly mixed traffic route that includes a number of crossroads with traffic lights, right turns, a roundabout and on-street parking. Passengers can wait at one of the three bus stops along the way or schedule on-demand rides through a mobile app. There isn't a human operator aboard, the fleet is monitored remotely from a new control center and a controller can take over driving operations if needed.

The five cities taking part in the FABULOS pilot project are Helsinki (Finland), Gjesdal (Norway), Tallinn (Estonia), Lamia (Greece) and Helmond (the Netherlands)
The five cities taking part in the FABULOS pilot project are Helsinki (Finland), Gjesdal (Norway), Tallinn (Estonia), Lamia (Greece) and Helmond (the Netherlands)

At the end of the trial, procurement partners from FABULOS will begin an evaluation process looking at such things as the fleet management system, the control room setup and remote operation, traffic situation capabilities and incident management, and more. There won't necessary be just one vehicle chosen for potential commercialization though, it's expected that all of the prototypes will move toward commercial availability.

It is hoped that a successful outcome will result in public follow-up procurement in 2021. The video below has more.

FABULOS - Bringing robot buses to the streets of Europe

Source: FABULOS

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