9.9.2021, Finland Finnish Sensible 4 and Swiss Transit Lab are starting a new, long-term pilot in Switzerland with an electric Level 4 autonomous shuttle bus. The first demonstration of the software and vehicle performance is happening already these days in Schaffhausen, at the annual event of the Swiss Public Transportation Association (VÖV). Later the shuttle bus will be driving as a part of public transportation service on last-mile and ease the everyday life of the local people.
With a huge demand for sustainable transportation solutions, Finnish self-driving technology company Sensible 4 is expanding its operations and bringing its shared driverless vehicles to Switzerland for the first time. The fully electric and Level 4 autonomous vehicle will be a part of the public transportation service in Schaffhausen, Switzerland for around two years to come.
The climate is screaming for more sustainable solutions and the latest climate report from the IPCC states that there is no time to spare in order to save our planet. Introducing shared electric autonomous vehicles to the public transportation system is a step in the right direction. They’re a more sustainable choice as they offer smarter and significantly more efficient services with no local emissions. Autonomous vehicles also need to be attractive, to provide a realistic option to privately owned cars.
“Sensible 4 wants to change the way people move. Shared, electric and driverless vehicles will offer new services that will take people to the places they want to go to comfortably, safely, and effortlessly in a sustainable way”, says Harri Santamala, CEO, Sensible 4.
First Operations in Central Europe
The cooperation between Sensible 4 and Swiss Transit Lab is the first operation in Central Europe with Sensible 4’s autonomous vehicles. The vehicle will be demonstrated at events of the Swiss Association for Autonomous Mobility (SAAM) and VÖV in Schaffhausen today and tomorrow. In the future, the shuttle bus will be driving as a last-mile transportation service between the newly developed city district and former industry zone Stahlgiesserei and Schaffhausen train station.
Presenting autonomous transportation service to Schaffhausen is a natural continuation of the long-term development of the sophisticated Swiss public transportation system. Schaffhausen is a vibrant small town, with varying weather, surrounding hills, and a medieval city center with narrow streets, making it especially interesting for autonomous public transportation.
Santamala continues: “Central Europe is the heart of the automotive industry in Europe. We are thrilled to collaborate with the Swiss Transit Lab and bring our autonomous vehicles to Switzerland as our first operation outside of the Nordic countries.”
Heading South from the Harsh Conditions of the Nordic
The target of all Sensible 4 pilots is the continuous development of the software to bring safe autonomous vehicles on public roads. Pilot projects play an important part in developing autonomous driving software. For testing, driving in various conditions and locations is needed. With the upcoming Schaffhausen pilot, also complementary systems and services are being developed. Sensible 4 self-driving vehicles have already been driving in all Nordic seasons, in public transportation projects, both in Finland and in Norway.
In Finland, the vehicles took part in the EU-project FABULOS as they ran a fleet of autonomous vehicles at the capital of Helsinki in spring 2020. In Norway, the autonomous Toyota Proace vehicles have been transporting passengers from the beginning of 2021 near Oslo in a project run by the local public transport operator Ruter. Also in Finland Sensible 4 will begin a new pilot, as a part of the EU-funded SHOW project, at Tampere early next year, where autonomous vehicles are being used as a last-mile solution supporting the new tram line. On top of this, the software has been tested in the cold and dark winter of Finnish Lapland.
The Sensible 4 autonomous software is capable of operating in various weather conditions and has a proven track record of operating in both rain and snowfall.
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.
The Schaffhausen Swiss Transit Lab (STL) is an initiative and non-profit organisation of private companies and the local public transport authority VBSH. Since 2017, it has provided a platform for research and development under real-life conditions. The STL has attracted national and international attention with the deployment of an automated vehicle, thus establishing Schaffhausen as a centre of excellence for future mobility.