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Robot bus begins service in Helsinki

Published : 10 Jun 2020, 01:10

Updated : 10 Jun 2020, 10:05

  DF Report

Press Release Photo: Forum Virium Helsinki

A robot bus started its journey in the Pasila area of Helsinki on Tuesday, said the City of Helsinki in a press release.

The bus shuttles between the Pasila station, the Messukeskus expo and convention centre and Ratamestarinkatu in Itä-Pasila on weekdays.

According to the plan, the service will continue through 3 July. The robot shuttle bus, in service on line 29R, is included in the Journey Planner of Helsinki Region Transport HSL.

The FABULOS Project brings robot buses to Pasila at the completion of a 1.5-year R&D phase.

Since the spring of 2020, three different kinds of driverless shuttle bus solutions are being tested in real urban environments in Helsinki and four other European cities.

The first departures on line 29R took place at 15:00 and 15:20 on 9 June, Tuesday.

Regular service begins on 10 June, Wednesday and is projected to continue on weekdays until 3 July, excluding the Midsummer’s Eve on 19 June.

Scheduled departures take place from 8:15to 9:35 and 13:40 to 15:20.

Pilots with driverless shuttle buses began in Helsinki in April, but due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, passengers are accepted only from 9 June.

Pilots in Gjesdal, Norway and in Tallinn, Estonia are expected to begin in June 2020 but may have to be postponed due to pandemic-related restrictions. Pilots are scheduled to begin in Lamia, Greece and Helmond, the Netherlands in the autumn of 2020, and a new pilot round should be launched in Gjesdal at the same time. Each driverless-bus consortium ensures the functionality of their solutions with test runs in two cities.

The first robot bus experiments in the FABULOS Project began in Pasila, Helsinki on 14 April. Three autonomous vehicles, including a GACHA shuttle bus, run partly on a dedicated lane in a loop that passes the busy Pasila Railway Station. The speed limit in the area is 40 km/h.

Most of the route runs in regular traffic, and the route includes challenging points for autonomous vehicles, such as several intersections controlled by traffic lights, lane changing, street parking and a roundabout. The route includes three bus stops, at which the shuttle stops on request. Stop requests are made with a mobile app.