Welcoming words and keynote speaches
The FABULOS Final Conference was launched with welcoming words by FABULOS Project Coordinator Renske Martijnse-Hartikka (Forum Virium Helsinki) and a short introduction to the FABULOS project. This was followed by keynote speakers Minister Timo Harakka (Transport and Communications of Finland) who named, for example, transport legislation and safety, as key success factors in employment of autonomous public transportation. Key note by Secretary General Mohamed Mezghani (International Organisation for Public Transport, UITP) followed focusing on how autonomous vehicles should consider the human aspect.
Key learnings from the FABULOS field tests
After the keynote speakers, the Final Conference took a deeper look into autonomous shuttle bus deployment and to the six pilots that ran in the cities of Helsinki, Tallinn, Gjesdal, Lamia and Helmond in 2020–2021. The three winning consortia shared their key learnings from the field tests as well plans for commercialisation of the robot bus services. Furthermore, representatives of Saga, Sensible4–Shotl and Mobile Civitatem consortia highlighted their most valuable lessons regarding the pre-commercial procurement tool which was utilised as a funding instrument in the FABULOS project.
Panel discussion with procuring cities
After viewing the greetings from politicians from the partner cities, the panel discussion with the FABULOS procurers was launched. All the procures shared their learnings from their respective countries, namely Norway, Greece, Finland, Portugal, Estonia and The Netherlands. There were multiple valuable insights presented which pave the way for future pilots in the field of autonomous public transportation. All the procuring partners encouraged to utilise innovative procurement tools and aim high when planning the future public transportation.
Regulatory aspects of autonomous shuttles
The first afternoon session was hosted by Eetu-Pilli Sihvola, Head of Analysis and Trials from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency. During this session regulatory uncertainties regarding employment of autonomous shuttles were discussed with the partnering cities. Furthermore, cities pointed out what are the most critical obstacles that should be clarified urgently, such as approval process for the autonomous vehicles. Cities also shared their views on most crucial data enabling autonomous shuttles as part of the public transportation.
Technical capabilities of autonomous shuttles
The second session was hosted by Oscar Nissin, Innovation Director from Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. During this session the most critical technical advances were discussed from the point of view of the three winning consortia. Some of the key elements mentioned in this context were the understanding how the on-demand systems should be integrated into existing public transport and successful development of Remote Control Centers.
Autonomous shuttle services as a Public Procurement of Innovative solutions
The last session was hosted by FABULOS Project Coordinator Renske Martijnse-Hartikka from Forum Virium Helsinki. The session focused especially on future procurements and EU-funded transport projects of the coming years. The participating panelists gave an overview of the upcoming work in their cities regarding the role of autonomous vehicles, scaling up and next steps. Also, Policy Officer from the European Commission, Lieve Bos, presented her views on innovative procurement and the legacy of the project: "FABULOS was one of the very ambitious PCP projects, and it looks like it has done a great job!"