Self-driving bus to be tested in Mustamäe this summer

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TalTech's Iseauto bus. Source: Tallinn City Council.

A self-driving bus will be seen in Tallinn's Mustamäe district this summer as testing of remote teleoperation continues.

The City Council agreed to Tallinn's participation in an international project introducing self-driving buses operated by people from a control room who will not sit in the vehicle.

The bus is part of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region project "Sohjoa Last Mile - the pilot of the last mile eco-friendly self-driving bus", a pilot project will be carried out in the Tallinn University of Technology area this summer with the university's own bus Iseauto.

The control of the bus is carried out by teleoperation: a person will operate the self-driving bus from TalTech's control room. 5G coverage will be used for communication. The aim of the pilot project is to find out what teleoperation management will look like in the future.

Tiit Terik, chairman of the Tallinn City Council, said self-driving buses have been tested on public roads in various areas of the capital for several years without major problems.

"After all, we have followed the principle of many innovative solutions - think globally, test in Tallinn. Hopefully, this rare technological step in the world, where the operator is no longer in the vehicle, will enable the self-driving bus to be used regularly and permanently in some areas in the coming years," Terik said.

The lead project partner is Metropolia University of Finland, other partners are Tallinn Transport Department, Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), Forum Virium Helsinki, City of Gdansk (Poland), Kongsberg region (Norway) and Zemgale region (Latvia).

The budget of the Tallinn Transport Authority in this project is €74,000, of which foreign support makes up 85 percent and the own contribution 15 percent. 

Similar self-driving buses have also been tested at Tallinn's Kadriorg Park in recent years, although usually, a driver has been inside the vehicle in case of emergencies.

The driverless bus which operated in Kadriorg Park. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

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Editor: Helen Wright

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