During the third phase of the pre-commercial procurement, pilots in five of the partnering countries take place. Three selected prototypes are tested as small fleets of automated buses in Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands and Norway by the three awarded consortia. The duration of each field test is 50 days minimum. All pilot cities’ routes are aiming to offer solutions for the last mile transportation, but have their own unique qualities and geographical challenges. The video below demonstrates the Pasila pilot set-up as well as the overall aim of the FABULOS field testings.
FABULOS is not a vehicle procurement project but takes a systematic approach, with a focus on the all-inclusive solution that can manage automated fleets as part of cities’ public transportation systems. Therefore, suppliers have some freedom in the constellation of the fleet. During the field trial periods, the functionality, interoperability and security of the autonomous fleets will be assessed. After each of the pilots, the Technical Evaluation Committee will carry out an evaluation process. Commercialisation of the solutions will take place after the end of the project.
Ambitious goals for piloting
The first pilots were hosted by Municipality of Gjesdal (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia) in the spring and summer of 2020. The Helsinki pilot was launched on 14 April 2020 and run until July 2020. The pilot in Tallinn was launched in June and the one in Ålgård (Municipality of Gjesdal) in July, after some delays due to the COVID-19 restrictions. During the autumn and winter of 2020, pilots will be launched in Lamia (Greece), Helmond (the Netherlands) and Gjesdal.
All the pilots will take place in urban settings, but each pilot location has its own special challenges. In Gjesdal, there is a 8–10% incline due to the mountainous terrain, whereas in Lamia high temperatures must be successfully managed, for example. In Helmond the large number of cyclists must be taken into consideration and in Helsinki the route passes the second busiest train station in the country. In Tallinn, the connection to the airport will be improved, leading to challenges with factors such as existing bus traffic.
Nine functional requirements
In all the locations, the shuttle services is tested to ensure the remote operability from the control room. Furthermore, the buses must be able to autonomously overtake obstacles such as parked cars. The shuttles are expected to be driverless. In line with the Request for Tender documentation, the evaluation is based on the following nine functional requirements:
- Fleet management system. The includes the technical framework that is needed for the system to integrate the single vehicles to the Fleet Management.
- Control room functions and remote operation. The fleets are managed from a Remote Control Centre (RCC). Remote driving is expected to be needed in a limited number of situations. In these instances, a remote driver person in the control room takes over a vehicle as the designated driver.
- Integration to the city traffic control system and real-time traffic infrastructure including, for example, traffic light and congestion status.
- Maintenance and incident management. This includes charging and storing the vehicles, maintenance and management of field accidents and incidents.
- Integration to the cities’ public transport systems, and therefore the fleet must be able to communicate with local route planners.
- Traffic situation capabilities. Vehicles need to be able to continue their route by diverting the trajectory around an object that is blocking the initial trajectory.
- Vehicle and fleet requirements. The field must consist of at least three vehicles (of which two autonomous mini-buses), to validate the fleet operations.
- Vehicle operational requirements. These define how the vehicle needs to perform while operating related to temperatures, weather conditions, speeds.
- Deployment, setup and service. The bus service is expected to be operated in a close to commercial quality level and therefore changes in traffic infrastructure and arrangements must be kept at a minimum.
Three non-functional requirements
The shuttle service needs to fulfil three overarching requirements regarding safety and technical maturity as well as societal and legal maturity to stay within the scope of the FABULOS project. These include the following:
- Safety and technical maturity. The solution is carrying passengers and offers passive and active safety measures. The requirement include, for example, System Architecture documentation, protection against cyber attacks and crisis communication plan.
- Societal maturity. The requirement includes passenger surveys, FAQ’s and overall bus design.
- Legal maturity. The solutions must comply with applicable, country-specific legislation in the piloting cities.