The autonomous vehicles will form part of the Oslo transport network and will be available for use during the first quarter of 2021.
Sensible 4’s autonomous driving software utilises sensors to keep the wheels on the road in icy conditions. Credit: Sensible 4
Companies including Toyota Motor Europe (TME), mobility company Holo and Finnish firm Sensible 4 have announced a collaboration to trial self-driving vehicles as an integrated part of the public transport service in Oslo for a year.
The vehicle taking to the Norwegian capital’s roads is the Toyota Proace, equipped with autonomous driving software from the self-driving technology company Sensible 4. The partners say the Proace is the right model to support this automated transportation solution with room for up to six passengers and equipped with a wheelchair ramp.
“Our engineers have been working closely with TME in retrofitting the vehicle with our autonomous driving software. We are very proud of having conducted the largest retrofitting project with Toyota vehicles in Europe”, said Sensible 4 CEO Harri Santamala.
Sensible 4 says the purpose of the self-driving vehicle trials is to explore ways to integrate autonomous vehicles into Ruter’s (the transport operator in Oslo) public transport service and reduce the need for private car use in the area.
The service will be called line 529 and will operate for a period of one year. By operating for such a long time, the partners hope they will be able to thoroughly test and ensure that the software truly works in all weather conditions in real-life situations.
“Autonomous vehicles complement the already existing public transportation network by providing new last-mile transportation services. We are very happy to see that Ruter wants to be at the forefront of this development. Together we can provide a smarter and more sustainable transportation form to people in their everyday life”, continued Sensible 4 CEO Harri Santamala.
Self-driving in Nordic conditions
Nordic weather conditions (plenty of snow and rain) have repeatedly created problems for self-driving vehicles in Norway. Sensible 4’s autonomous driving software specialises in self-driving under demanding weather conditions. It utilises algorithms for effective 3D LiDAR data processing, an intelligent sensor fusion system, as well as artificial intelligence to make sure vehicles stay on the road even in the most challenging of conditions, according to Sensible 4.
“For self-driving vehicles to become mainstream, they have to work in everyday conditions, as in rain or snow. Driving in Norway is a great opportunity for us to test our software performance. If it works here, it works everywhere.” says Santamala.
According to the plan, people in Oslo will be able to start using the new travel offering in the first quarter of 2021. Until then, the two vehicles are first going to map the area and then carry out a total of five hundred hours of test operation without passengers on board, which is required by the Norwegian road authorities.