The FABULOS procuring partners awarded three international consortia with contracts for the final phase of the pre-commercial procurement. These consortia will pilot autonomous buses as part of existing public transport systems, and the fleets of three buses each will be piloted in Gjesdal, Helmond, Helsinki, Lamia and Tallinn between April and October 2020.
As part of the evaluation of the Field Testing Phase offers, a decision was made on the pairing of the cities and consortia. The final decision was based on considerations such as geographic spread, variance in physical challenges and regulatory boundaries. All consortia will test their prototype solution in two cities.
Each consortium will have the first pilot in their “home country” between April and June 2020. A second pilot in a country less familiar to them is planned to take place between August and October 2020. Pilots have been matched with the cities as follows:
- Helsinki: Sensible 4–Shotl Consortium (Field test 1)
- Tallinn: Mobile Civitatem Consortium (Field test 1)
- Gjesdal: Saga Consortium (Field test 1) and Sensible 4–Shotl Consortium (Field test 2)
- Helmond: Saga Consortium (Field test 2)
- Lamia: Mobile Civitatem Consortium (Field test 2)
During the field tests companies need to prove that their solution scales across Europe. Secondly, companies should show that their solution works under different geographical, climatological and urban conditions. Thirdly, companies must prove that they can manage real-life operations on this scale. Each pilot will last a minimum of 50 operational days and the fleet of three buses must be integrated in regular public transportation. Before the pilots can be launched, permits and exemptions from the respective National Road Authorities must be obtained – and this can be challenging in some cities.
The overall goal of this last year of the FABULOS project is to provide the Procuring Partners with as much information as possible on the actual potential of the solution in a real-life urban setting. Validation in such a context means that the developed solutions can indeed create an actual benefit should a future procurement procedure be undertaken once the PCP process has been finalised. Cities, public transport operators and public transport authorities can still join to become a so-called Preferred Partner: this is a group of third party procurers with a keen interest in the outcomes and a willingness to discuss the potential of a Public Procurement of Innovation after the end of 2020.