Milla Aman/Oscar Nissin

A self-driving electric minibus supplied by NAVYA to the Helsinki RobobusLine accepted the first passengers on board on May 14, 2018, launching scheduled service in regular traffic on roads in the Kivikko district of Helsinki. The RobobusLine project prepares for commercially viable automated bus operation in Helsinki projected to start in three years’ time.

The Helsinki RobobusLine’s minibus will operate for six months over the summer and fall of 2018. It runs 3–6 times an hour between 9 AM and 3 PM on weekdays, carrying passengers from a stop of a regular Helsinki bus line to a sports park.

The top speed on the route is 18 km/h, slightly below the minibus’s maximum speed of 25 km/h. Initially there will be an operator on board. Typically, the last-mile routes cannot be operated viably with conventional buses but could become commercially feasible with driverless buses.

The Helsinki RobobusLine project is one of the smart mobility projects in Helsinki designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from transportation with electric vehicles and increased use of sustainable public transportation. The City of Helsinki has announced a plan to become carbon neutral by 2035. Helsinki Region Transport plans to give up fossil fuels by 2021.

Helsinki RobobusLine follows Metropolia’s Sohjoa project, which has tested two self-driving EasyMile EZ10 electric minibuses in public places in Helsinki and other Finnish cities over the past two years. The Sohjoa project will be closed in late May 2018, after final test runs at the Suvilahti cultural center in Helsinki.

The Robobus vehicle from NAVYA of France represents the latest generation of automated electric minibuses. Its guidance and detection systems combine data from Lidar sensors, cameras, GPS RTK, IMU and odometry, which are merged and interpreted by deep learning programs.

The Helsinki RobobusLine project is supported by the EU-funded mySMARTLife project, in which Helsinki develops smart commercial-scale solutions with other European cities to cut urban carbon dioxide emissions, focusing on transportation and housing.

Source: City of Helsinki