The FAULOS project announced on Monday that three consortia have been awarded contracts to test self driving shuttles in five European cities this year. The project is underway to determine how cities can use automated busses in a systematic way.
Canada’s Spare Labs, a Vancouver-based tech company specializing in the next generation of transportation, is working with three other partners as part of the Saga Consortium in the pilot project.
Future Automated Bus Urban Level Operation System, or FABULOS, is a research and development project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme that tests the use of autonomous mini busses in urban areas.
The three consortia will test the self driving shuttles in Gjesdal, Norway, Helsinki, Finland, Lamia, Greece, Helmond, the Netherlands and Tallin, Estonia between April and October, 2020. There will be three autonomous mini busses tested in each city.
This is the third phase of the project. In the first two phases, the consortia developed a concept and system architecture capable of operating self driving shuttles. Then the four consortia who were successful in the first phase, moved to the second stage where they developed prototypes based on their shuttle service solutions.
Now in the third phase, the developers must verify and compare their prototype solutions in real-life conditions. The Technical Evaluation Committee and external Evaluator Panel chose three consortia to partake in the final phase.
Consortia that made it to the third phase received 740,000 euros to validate their prototypes, prepare pilots and implement operational systems.
The Sensible 4 – Shotl Consortium is made up of two partners, including Sensible 4 from Finland and Shotl from Spain. The consortium is utilizing the automated Gacha bus from Sensible4 and MUJI.
The Mobile Civitatem Consortium has four Estonian partners: Modern Mobility, Tallinn University of Technology, AuVeTech and Fleet Complete. This consortium is building and testing their own autonomous vehicle the Iseauto.
And the Saga Consortium comprises four partners: Halogen, Forus PRT and Ramboll Management Consulting from Norway together with Spare Labs from Canada. The consortium will work with one of the established European shuttle manufacturers.
In the upcoming field trials, the functionality, interoperability and security of the autonomous fleets will be assessed.
All the pilots will take place in urban settings, and each pilot location has its own special challenges. In Gjesdal, there is a 12 per cent incline due to the mountainous terrain, whereas in Lamia high temperatures must be successfully managed. In the Netherlands the large number of cyclists must be taken into consideration and in Helsinki the route passes the second busiest train station in the country. In Tallinn, the connection to the airport will be improved, leading to challenges with factors such as existing bus traffic.
In all the locations, the shuttle services will be tested to ensure the functionality of remote operability from the control room. Furthermore, the buses must be able to autonomously overtake obstacles such as parked cars.
The self driving shuttles may have a safety person on board if required by local regulations.
In November, FABULOS will hold a final conference in Helsinki to discuss the findings of the projects.