Without acceptance by citizens, shared autonomous mobility innovations will never become a widespread mode of transportation. Therefore, in the FABULOS requirements, there is non-functional requirement that includes carrying out passenger surveys during the Field Testing phase of pre-commercial procurement.
Surveys in each of the five pilot sites consist of a set of mandatory questions. In addition, the Phase 3 consortia and the partnering cities have been given the opportunity to add some questions specific to their local pilots. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the spring and summer of 2020, only a limited number of passengers were allowed on the shuttles and therefore the amount of completed surveys was low during the first three field tests. In Helsinki the number of completed surveys was 12, in Tallinn 51 and in Gjesdal 59. The survey questionnaires were filled in either by using online platform or by paper and pen.
Based on first three summary reports, some observations can be made. The average scores of all pilots indicate that the passengers consider the ride with autonomous shuttles as a positive experience. A large majority of respondents indicated that they would be willing to include autonomous buses as part of their daily travel routines. However, some of the comments reflected the wish for higher speeds and smoother braking. Consequently, while the speeds are mainly limited by governmental regulations and not by technology, braking is a challenge where more R&D work is needed to improve user experience.
During the remaining three pilots in Helmond, Lamia and Gjesdal, similar passenger surveys are to be conducted during the winter of 2020–2021. In the beginning of 2021, an aggregated overall summary will be published.