Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki capital region, Finland is taking the autonomous, driverless last mile public transportation solutions to a test-drive across Europe in the coming years.
In Sohjoa Baltic project the concortium of 13 partners in 8 Baltic Sea Region countries researches, promotes and pilots automated driverless electric minibuses as part of the public transport chain especially for the first / last mile connectivity.
During European Robotics Week in Brussels, on Nov 22 and 23, 2017 the robotbus is open to the public, on Wednesday 22nd from 1200 to 1700 and on Thursday 23rd from 1200 to 1330 HRS next to European Parliament, address Esplanade Solidarność 1980.
The project brings knowledge and competence on organizing environmentally friendly and smart automated public transport. It also provides guidelines on legal and organizational setup needed for running such a service in an efficient way. Consortium has partners from Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Norway and Denmark with area and public transportation planning expertise as well as legal expertise combined with strong technical understanding which are the requirements for enabling autonomous traffic.
The one-year long demo sites during Sohjoa Baltic project are Helsinki (FI), Tallinn (EE), Kongsberg (NO) and shorter demos of one month take place in Vejle (DK), Gdansk (PL) and Zemgale (LV).
Sohjoa Baltic brings autonomous small buses to drive demo routes in six Baltic Sea Region cities. Autonomous bus drives along its route like a lift. It scans its surroundings and knows when to slow down or stop completely, if there are obstacles in the way. During the pilots there is always an operator on board, like there used to be one inside a lift when they were introduced.
The level of interest in the autonomous vehicles is not showing to end. Sohjoa Baltic project’s Leading partner is Metropolia University of Applied Sciences has experienced in automated vehicle operations in various national projects as well as the research study of the phenomena. In Mobility as a Service (MaaS) project, funded by Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications, Finnish Transport Agency and Finnish Traffic Safety Authority, Metropolia’s Research Director Arto O Salonen has conducted globally the first user experience research study which is peer-reviewed and published on Transport Policy Journal on November 6th. The main finding seems to be that the passengers trust the new technology. The study "Passenger's subjective traffic safety, in-vehicle security and emergency management in the driverless shuttle bus in Finland" is found on website, address http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967070X1730286X
The total budget of the Sohjoa Baltic is 3.8M€, out of which Baltic Sea Region Interreg Programme co-financing for the project is 2.8M€. Project starts in October 2017 and ends in September 2020.
Communications Manager, Sohjoa Baltic
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
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