Press Release

Automated Driving Service Begins in Schaffhausen, Switzerland

3.5.2023, Switzerland. Finnish automated technology company Sensible 4 and the Swiss Transit lab (STL) start a new, long-term automated driving service in the city of Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The service, planned to run until the end of 2024, is the country’s first automated driving service with dual-mode technology. The start of the project marks a significant step for the city as it brings automated mobility to the city centre.

On April 28th, Schaffhausen launched STL Line 13, the first long-term automated driving service with dual-mode technology in Switzerland, in collaboration with Sensible 4. The project will operate in 2023 and 2024 and is a significant milestone for a city that has established itself as a leading eco-mobility hub in Europe. Schaffhausen’s commitment to innovation and vision for a better future for its citizens are reflected in this project, which aims to make automated vehicles a regular part of the city’s public transport system in the future.

As part of the project, the electric Toyota Proace Verso, automated by Sensible 4, will navigate a 2-kilometre route through mixed traffic, operating in close proximity to other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. The vehicle is partially integrated into the public transportation system and equipped with dual-mode technology, enabling it to operate both autonomously and manually. To ensure compliance with safety and legal regulations, the vehicle will have a safety driver on board at all times.

“We are thrilled to be at the forefront of this groundbreaking technology. Autonomous driving has the potential to transform how we travel, making transportation more accessible, efficient, and environmentally friendly. We believe that this project will serve as a model for other cities around Switzerland and will help to accelerate the adoption of autonomous vehicles”, says Matthias Rödter, President of Swiss Transit Lab.

“The STL Line 13 project is particularly exciting for Sensible 4, as it is our first long-term deployment in central Europe. Although we have extensive experience in carrying out deployments worldwide, this project offers us a unique opportunity to reach and demonstrate our capabilities to Schaffhausen’s prestigious business community”, says Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4.

Mixed Traffic Poses Unique Challenge

STL Line 13 offers a free service between Schaffhausen’s main train station and the new Stahlgiesserei district. The route is centrally located and caters to both the city’s residents and business travellers.

“Although the weather conditions may not be as challenging as some of our previous projects, we don’t expect this to be easy. Operating in Schaffhausen’s mixed-traffic environment will present us with unique technical challenges, such as open bike lanes, narrow roads, and a small roundabout”, says Santamala.

Concrete Step Forward for the Future of Mobility

The project has received support from key stakeholders, including the Government (State, Canton, City) and the industry itself.

“It’s a milestone for all of us. After intensive preparatory work, the operational phase starts. It’s a joyful moment,” says Rödter.

Santamala concludes: “Deployments, such as the STL Line 13 project, play a vital role in developing autonomous driving technology and preparing societies and businesses for the future of transportation. The path to realising the change is challenging and complex. Whilst open road deployments, such as this, will play a crucial part in the journey, we also need to demonstrate the commercial viability of autonomous vehicles. For Sensible 4, this means applying our valuable open-road experience to closed-site applications, where we can deploy our technology, and realise commercial viability, in the near term. Ultimately, the STL Line 13 project is helping us advance the technology and realise the benefits of autonomous vehicles for businesses and societies in the future.”

Deployment in a nutshell:

  • Opened to the public on Friday 28th April and planned to run until the end of 2024
  • Route runs from the main train station in Schaffhausen to Stahlgiesserei
  • The service area has 450 apartments and plenty of commercial space
  • 2-kilometre route amongst mixed traffic
  • Automated Toyota Proace electric version
  • The service is free of charge

More Information

Sensible 4 is a Finnish, deep-tech start-up that develops pioneering vehicle automation solutions for the most demanding environments and conditions. In 2022, the company released its automated driving software platform DAWN™ to enable industrial and commercial vehicles to operate autonomously at Level 4. Established in 2017, Sensible 4 is a spin-off from one of the first mobile robotics labs in the world at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland.

Schaffhausen Swiss Transit Lab (STL) is an initiative and an association of private companies, transport companies and the canton of Schaffhausen. Since 2017, it has provided a platform for research and development under real-life conditions. The STL has already attracted national and international attention in 2018 with the deployment of an automated vehicle, thus establishing Schaffhausen as a centre of excellence for the mobility of the future.