Finland Autonomous Bus “Gaucha” Can Handle All Weather Conditions

We recently reported on autonomous shuttles finally hitting the streets of New York City. Well, it looks like Finland is also getting into the game.

Its called the Gacha. Developed in a partnership between Finnish tech company Sensible 4 and Japanese retailer Muji, the autonomous minibus will begin testing in the city of Espoo this spring.

You might be asking “What does Gacha mean?” It’s the Japanese name for a toy machine into which you insert a coin, twist a crank and out pops a plastic egg with a prize inside.

The bus does look like a giant toy with its squarish shape and no distinguishable front or back. The 30 ft long Gacha has room for 16 passengers (ten sitting and six standing).

Finland Self Driving Bus Gaucha Autonomous - YellRobot
credit: justus hirvi/bonzu + MUJI

Gaucha Can Go 25mph and Charge Wirelessly

It can go up to 25 mph and has a range of about 60 miles. Onboard sensors, cameras, and GPS software allow the autonomous Gacha to navigate the streets and avoid any people or obstacles that may get in the way.

According to Muji, the bus can run on a fixed, predetermined path. It can also respond to user requests and adjust its route if need be. The bus can even be controlled remotely over 4g and 5g. As far as power goes, the bus is completely electric and can be charged wirelessly.

An LED strip wraps around the self driving bus serving as headlights and an announcement ticker. It also features easy access for those who may be disabled or have limited mobility.

Finland Self Driving Bus Gaucha Autonomous - YellRobot
credit: justus hirvi/bonzu + MUJI

Autonomous Bus is All Weather

While many self driving vehicles have issues in bad weather, the Gaucha can handle the harshest conditions Finland can dish out. It can run through snow, slush, and the heaviest of rain.

“The GACHA development got started when the Sensible 4 team, working back then with the first generation of robot buses, noticed that they just don’t perform at all even in light rain, not to mention the typical winter conditions in Finland. This is what Sensible 4 has managed to change through repeated tests in the harsh winter conditions of the Finnish lapland,” said Harri Santamaria, CEO of Sensible 4.

After testing in Espoo, Muji plans to bring the Gacha to other Finnish cities such as Hämeenlinna, Vantaa and Helsinki as well as other places throughout Europe.

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