First all-weather autonomous shuttle bus to be deployed by 2020
Plans are currently being finalised for the deployment of the first Gacha fleet – a fleet of autonomous shuttles that can operate in all weather conditions.
MUJI and Sensible 4 have together created the first all-weather autonomous shuttle bus, Gacha, which is expected to be deployed in 2020.
Sensible 4 provided the autonomous driving technology – ensuring the vehicle contains superior positioning, navigation and obstacle detection performance to allow autonomous driving regardless of the weather conditions – and MUJI provided the vehicle design and features that enhance the user experience.
Weather plays a critical role in opening the market for autonomous buses. Presently, heavy rain, fog or snow are preventing most autonomous vehicles from operating as the existing technologies are mostly tested and developed in warm climate conditions. However, Sensible 4 has focused on technology tests and validations in the arctic Lapland conditions giving the company a unique advantage over other self-driving technologies.
The Gacha shuttle bus will be displayed to public in its premiere March 2019 in Helsinki and after its launch, will operate in three Finnish cities as part of real-life traffic.
The aim of the collaboration is to develop autonomous shuttle bus fleets for mainstream use and to provide real transportation services for the public in 2021. Currently, Sensible 4 is looking for suitable industry partners whom would be interested in producing the buses as well as investors to accelerate the company growth.
“We are developing these vehicles so that they can become part of the daily transportation service chain. Autonomous vehicles can’t become mainstream until their technology has been insured to work in all climates,” said Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4.
Sensible 4 software can be integrated in to any autonomous vehicle platform from small cars to full-size buses. Currently, Sensible 4 offers free open-to-all rides as part of a pilot in southern Finland in Espoo.
MUJI’s design includes a friendly shape with no front or back, an LED light belt made from the combination of the headlights and communication screen, and seating that follows the rounded square shape of the bus.
The Gacha bus has a capacity of 10 seated passengers with six standing, and a maximum speed of 40km/h. Running on electric power, fast charging offers a range of over 100km. The sensor package includes four Lidars, eight radars, 360 degree camera vision, high-precision GPS, inertia unit and control over 4GLTE/5G.