Helsinki experiments with self-driving buses in real traffic
The Finnish city of Helsinki has started a one month trial in which two EasyMile EZ10 self-driving buses transport people trough actual traffic. After Helsinki, the same experiment will take place in Espoo and Tampere.
The trial periods take place under the umbrella of the SOHJOA-project, which is initiated and coordinated by the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. The project’s main goal is to provide possibilities for Finnish companies to develop new product and service ideas in the open innovation platform, aiming towards road traffic automation. It also aims to increase the awareness of the transformation road traffic within municipalities and among transportation service users and other stakeholder groups.
The project wants to put Finland on the development fast lane of automated road transport systems and to create new export businesses. SOHJOA provides an Innovation Platform where businesses may provide their products to be developed and tested as partial solutions for the robot buses. Finland has already strong know-how in the fields of machine vision, intelligent route planning and traffic in winter conditions, the university claims.
Person on board
The automated last mile buses enter the public roads in Finland this summer, something The Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi has granted permissions for. Through these piloting cases, the aim is to find the best solutions for city traffic, safety and user experience for the future’s automated buses. These cost effective, energy efficient and small electric buses can transport up to nine persons at a time. Just to make sure everything goes according to plan, a human being will at all times be present on the buses, who can travel no faster than 7 miles or 11 kilometers per hour.