Self-driving shuttles are about to hit the streets of the northern European nation of Estonia. The buses, known as Iseauto, are to be deployed on June 15 in the capital city of Tallinn. They come from a partnership between Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) and Silberauto Estonia. It’s part of a wider plan to embrace technology and create a more sustainable city. The shuttles themselves were developed and manufactured by startup Auve Tech.
The vehicles will travel on a pre-defined route on public roads. Onboard sensors and cameras will help the self-driving shuttle avoid anything that may get in the way. The shuttles will be able to operate in all types of weather which is important for a place like Estonia which normally experiences harsh winters. Initially, during testing, there will be a safety officer onboard but AuveTech hopes to eventually monitor from afar.
“We also wish to take autonomous transportation to the next level and lose the safety operator from the shuttle. With the help of teleoperation, a fleet of shuttles can be operated from distance by one operator, and this will make the solution even more sustainable and cost-effective,” said Paula Adamson from Auve Tech.
Self-Driving Shuttles to Eventually be Deployed Nation Wide
Last week Iseauto passed road authority tests and was approved to start tests on open public roads. Prototype shuttles were tested previously in cooperation with Tallinn Zoo and the city’s Open Air Museum. They passed with flying colors and received positive responses from the public. Officials hope that after the pilot program, driverless shuttles will make their way to other places around Estonia.
“People are curious, and the shuttle itself is definitely an eye-catcher and is always turning heads when operating in public. We believe that a huge part of integrating the shuttles into our daily lives is to make them common for people and build trust into our solution so that people feel safe. This way, we actually pave the way towards enhancing the future of mobility,“ said Adamson.
Source: Emerging Europe