30 May 2020


From this spring onwards, the “Fabulos” project brings robot buses to the streets of Europe. Three robot bus prototypes will be evaluated in real-life conditions in five European cities. All the shuttle solutions offer an all-inclusive service for autonomous last-mile transport, testing features and geographical challenges.

After 1.5 years of developing autonomous shuttle solutions, Fabulos is conducting a field-test with the robot bus prototypes in small fleets in Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands and Norway. Each of the three suppliers chosen for this phase receives up to 1 million euros to prepare pilots and implement operational systems to validate their prototypes. The three supplier consortia, composed of several companies representing 5 nationalities, are Sensible4-Shotl (Finnish–Spanish), Saga (Norwegian–Canadian) and Mobile Civitatem (Estonian).

The focus is on a turnkey solution that can manage automated robot bus fleets as part of cities’ public transportation systems to deliver attractive, cost-efficient and sustainable transport solutions.

The piloting of the self-driving shuttles has already started on 14 April 2020 in Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland. Pilots in Gjesdal (Norway) and Tallinn (Estonia) will follow in June 2020, but there might be some delays due to the COVID-19 restrictions. During the autumn of 2020, pilots will be launched in Lamia (Greece), Helmond (the Netherlands) and again in Gjesdal. Each of the suppliers will pilot their robot bus solutions in two cities.

As part of each 50-day field trial period, the functionality, interoperability and security of the autonomous fleets will be assessed.

In Helsinki the fleet of three autonomous vehicles, including the Gacha robot bus, drives along a circular route partly on a separate lane, with speeds of up to 40 km/h. The majority of the route is in mixed traffic and includes several crossroads with traffic lights, right turns, street-side parking and a roundabout. There are three bus stops on the route and on-demand rides are available via a mobile app.

Technologically, the shuttle buses do not need a driver or steward on board since they can operate fully autonomously. For the first time in Europe, the fleets are monitored from a newly established Remote Control Centre. In case of exceptional situations, a remote operator can give permission to pass an object, such as a car blocking the road, or take over the control of the vehicles.

The overall aim of Fabulos is to accelerate the introduction of new types of automated last-mile solutions entering the European market.

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