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Swedish test bed introduces first driverless buses on public roads

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Two driverless mini-buses take to the streets of Stockholm in a six-month pilot project within smart mobility, led by Nobina Technology.

The first driverless buses to be used on public roads in Scandinavia have taken to the streets of Kista, a busy district just north of Stockholm’s city centre, as part of a six-month trial.  

Called “Autopiloten” (the Autopilot), the test project is led by transport company Nobina Technology in collaboration with SJ, KTH, Klövern, Urban ICT Arena and Stockholms stad (City of Stockholm).

“Urbanisation, road congestion and environmental issues are all major challenges. But we must also respond to passengers’ increased expectations on public transport. This collaboration shows that innovation can quickly move from conceptual stages to practical reality and benefit city populations,” says Jan Bosaeus, CEO at Nobina Sweden.

Smart mobility: new era for public transport

Two self-driving shuttles carrying 12 passengers each have been introduced on a 1.5 km long route in Kista and will travel at 20 km/h throughout the trial.

Equipped with computer control and sensors, the automated buses will generate data from a real-life environment which allows Nobina and its partners to investigate how seamless, door-to-door solutions in public transport can be accelerated. 

Autopiloten marks the first step of a long-term plan to phase in driverless buses in Stockholm and reduce the number of cars in the city.

“The fact that Stockholm has become Scandinavia’s first city to deploy driverless buses on public roads shows our commitment to leading the smart mobility field. The data we collect enables us to take the next step with Nobina and make automated buses an integral part of the transport network,” says Kristoffer Tamsons, County Council Commissioner.

The test bed Autopiloten is supported by Drive Sweden, a strategic innovation programme launched by the Swedish government in 2015. The programme is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Swedish Research Council Formas and Sweden’s innovation Agency VINNOVA.

Autopiloten is one of a multitude of ongoing test beds in Sweden that provide a springboard for innovation. These leading R&D programmes cover a wide range of disciplines and, in most cases, are open to requests from any country.

Read more and contact us for further information on test bed opportunities in Sweden.