Press Release

Mid-Winter Self-Driving Pilot in a Busy Finnish Campus Suburb

20.10.2021, Finland A new autonomous driving pilot is about to begin in early 2022. It will be part of the public transportation service in the city of Tampere in Finland. Two self-driving Toyota vehicles are moving people as the last mile transportation service in cold, snowy, and dark winter conditions. One target of the pilot is to gather feedback on how autonomous vehicles work as a part of public transportation in Tampere city.

Tiedote Suomeksi (rtf)

A new self-driving shuttle bus pilot offering the last mile service in Tampere, Finland will examine how autonomous vehicles could be utilized as a part of public transportation in the area. Two autonomous Toyota Proace mini-buses, automated by Finnish self-driving technology company Sensible 4, will work as feeder traffic for the first tramline in the city.

“The upcoming pilot in Tampere is an excellent real-life example of a transportation service that will eventually improve people’s lives in the suburban areas, decrease the need for privately owned cars, and help with the lack of professional drivers. We’re also developing on-demand transportation functionality to further advance the service”, comments Jussi Suomela, CBO, and co-founder of Sensible 4 about the route and role of autonomous shuttle bus service to the cities. He continues: “We see shared, electric and driverless mobility as a huge improvement in sustainability of transportation. It’s really making an impact on our cities.”

Tampere is one of the biggest cities in Finland and it is the most populous inland city in the Nordic countries. Hervanta suburb in Tampere is known as a university campus area, and a science hub – it’s also known for its development towards a smart city. The testbed in Hervanta enables the testing of urban transport with automated vehicles in a genuine suburban environment. Also, a digital twin of the test area has been made to enable the planning of new transportation services.

“Hervanta testing area is a serving testbed where science communities, manufacturing industry, city, and companies develop smart transportation solutions together. We would like to implement similar activities as this autonomous driving pilot also in the future”, comments Markku Niemi, Senior Business Advisor of the Connectivity Ecosystem of Business Tampere, the Tampere region economic development agency.

The route is around 3,5 kilometers long. It runs clockwise with 10 bus stops and interesting detail is driving part of the way on tram lines. This pilot supports the development and launch of Dawn, Sensible 4’s unique all-weather full-stack autonomous driving software, which will be released later next year.

Tampere Last Mile Trial in a Nutshell

  • Operation time: 3.1. – 18.3.2022
  • 2 autonomous Toyota Proace mini-buses
  • 3,5-kilometer long route
  • 10 bus stops
  • The speed limit is 40 km/h
  • Mixed traffic: Other vehicles, buses, and tram
  • Mid-winter time with snowy weather conditions
  • Free of charge

It’s getting busier in the autonomous driving industry again

The autonomous driving industry is getting more active as the countries recover and are opening up after the COVID-19 pandemic, and Sensible 4 is no exception. The company has been expanding its deployments abroad with self-driving pilots in Germany and Switzerland, in addition to services running in the Oslo area in Norway. Operations will expand more with upcoming new pilots in Japan, again in Switzerland, and above the arctic circle in Norway.

“As countries are opening again and people are getting back to more normal routines, there is a growing need for public transportation. We want people to be able to move in a sustainable way”, says Suomela.

The Tampere pilot is part of the EU-funded SHOW Project. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 875530.

More Information

Sensible 4 Oy is a Finnish self-driving technology company that has solved a major obstacle in autonomous driving, varying weather. The company develops full-stack autonomous driving software that turns any vehicle into self-driving. The unique technology combines software and information from several different sensors, enabling vehicles to operate in all weather conditions, including snowfall and fog. In 2022 it will launch the world’s first commercial all-weather software product, Dawn, for SAE level 4 driverless last-mile shuttles.

The founders of Sensible 4 have been developing autonomous vehicles since the ‘80s. In February 2020, Sensible 4 secured 7 million dollars in series A funding round from Japanese investors and the technology has won multiple awards, including 1st place in the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport 2019 competition and the Finnish Engineering Prize in 2020.

Business Tampere, the Tampere region economic development agency, promotes investments and creates an attractive environment for sustainable business in the region. We match your company with growth opportunities and partnerships in the Tampere Region and globally.

SHOW Project. The Hervanta autonomous driving pilot is a part of the EU-funded SHOW Project. SHOW has 69 partners in 13 countries. It includes car manufacturers, software companies, research centers, and authorities. The purpose is to develop and test self-driving vehicles in urban surroundings and outline industrial standards for the industry. From Finland, Sensible 4, Sitowise, Tampere City, and VTT are part of SHOW.