Nordic region’s biggest public transport operators, Nobina and Scania are gearing up for the commencement of autonomous bus trials on regular routes in Stockholm.
Scania’s head of Coaches and Buses, Karin Radstrom said that the autonomous vehicle technology has matured enough to commence actual bus trials on the public roads. The size of the trial buses will set it aside from other such projects in Europe. The trial will be instrumental in providing practical information about real-life road scenarios which will augment its further development before a large scale rollout of automated buses.
The bus trial will be executed in two stages with all the safety precautions in place. Initially the bus will operate without passengers and a safety-driver will be present with control over the vehicle operations and for assisting passengers.
Managing Director of Nobina Sweden, Henrik Dagnas said that the trial project will give the much-needed experience and insight about the practical aspects of operating an autonomous vehicle. This will increase trust about the safety of autonomous vehicles among people. He added that the people demand the same level of availability, safety and reliability from autonomous buses as they expect from conventional buses.
The two LF electric buses from Scania will connect the Barkarby area with a metro station nearby. The buses will have 4 stops along a 5-km new route dedicated only for autonomous buses. In the beginning, the trial will drive only one km autonomously while in the second stage of trial, it may transport 300 passengers daily on the route. Nobina and Scania will jointly handle the control systems and traffic for the autonomous buses.
The two companies have already started the development of the project and they are planning the start of the trial period in 2020. The trial will connect data on deviation response, on-time performance, passenger satisfaction, uptime and average speeds.
Barkarby area which is 20 km away from Stockholm’s downtown area, has garnered a reputation for having a city traffic system which is the most modern in the world. The area has already seen projects like the first autonomous electric buses in scheduled traffic, new digital solutions and Rapid transit infrastructure in buses all of which are in collaboration with Nobina, Jarfalla Municipality and Stockholm.
Nobina is the largest bus transport provider in the Nordic region. The company headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden serves in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Scania is a major Swedish Manufacturer of commercial vehicles with specialization in heavy trucks and buses.