FABULOS project to trial autonomous bus fleets in five European cities
Posted: 3 June 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
When the pilots are finalised, the cities and any third-party procurers will consider initiating a public follow-up procurement in 2021 based on the insights gained from the FABULOS project.
Credit: Forum Virium Helsinki
After years of developing autonomous shuttle solutions, the FABULOS project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, has announced that it is bringing robot buses to the streets of Europe.
From spring 2020, three robot bus prototypes will be evaluated in real-life conditions in five European cities.
During the field-testing phase of the FABULOS pre-commercial procurement, selected robot bus prototypes will be tested as small fleets of shuttles in Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands and Norway. Each of the three suppliers chosen for this phase has received up to €1 million to prepare pilots and implement operational systems to validate their prototypes.
The focus of the project is on a turnkey solution that can manage automated robot bus fleets as part of cities’ public transportation systems. For cities, this aims to provide more attractive, cost-efficient and sustainable transport solutions where citizens, in turn, get more tailored urban mobility alternatives, enabling seamless transfer across the public transportation network.
“Helsinki aims to be the most functional city in the world. 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,” said Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori.
The piloting of the self-driving shuttles has already started in Helsinki, Finland. Pilots in Gjesdal (Norway) and Tallinn (Estonia) will follow in June 2020, depending on COVID-19 restrictions. During the autumn of 2020, pilots will be launched in Lamia (Greece), Helmond (the Netherlands) and again in Gjesdal.
As part of each 50-day field trial period, the functionality, interoperability and security of the autonomous fleets will be assessed. After each of the pilots, representatives of the six FABULOS procuring partners will carry out an evaluation process. A pre-commercial procurement does not have one “winner”: all robot bus prototypes are expected to be commercialised and can be part of a follow-up procurement.