All the questions presented will be answered on this page and elaborated as the FABULOS project progresses. Questions should be addressed to Forum Virium Helsinki, Lead Contracting Authority by e-mail to [email protected]. For transparency reasons, questions by telephone unfortunately can not be answered.

General questions

A: If I do not participate for the Open Market Consultation events or surveys, can I still leave an offer?
Q: Yes you can. The consultation period only enables the FABULOS Consortium to get a better view of the existing market by talking with potential suppliers and other specialists in the field.

Q: Are you also looking at Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) solutions?
A: The FABULOS project is focused on the public transit and particular on (on-demand) last-mile transport. Project targets specifically automated buses and wishes to have as few changes to the infrastructure as possible. Solutions requiring rail are not what the FABULOS project is looking for.

Q: When will I have a chance to ask more questions?

A: The request for tenders will be published on 1 September and we will have the first webinar on 11 September at 10.00. Registration will be opened in mid August.

Open Market Consultation

Q: When the final Market Consultation report will be available?
A: Report will be available on the FABULOS website by end of June 2018.

Q: Are the Open Market Consultation events in Helsinki and Brussels identical?
A: They are not exactly the same, but there will be overlap in content. The Helsinki event is the main Open Market Consultation event whereas in Brussels, the results from the first Open Market Consultation month will be taken into account. In addition, in Brussels there will not be be Supplier pitches.

Q: Could I receive the participant lists from the Market Consultation Phase?

A: The participant lists for the Open Market Consultation events nor lists of companies who have indicated they are considering putting in an offer are not public. However, on the Matchmaker Tool you can find companies which have indicated their interest to join in a consortium, the areas of expertise they have to offer and the ones they are looking for.

Request for tenders

Q: When do you plan to publish the request for tender and when is the submission deadline?
A: The FABULOS call for tender will be published on 1 September 2018 and the deadline for submission is 31 October 2018 (17.00 CET).

Q: Can a research lab be a Supplier?
A: Yes, as long as the solution is credible.

Q: Is there a maximum consortium size?
A: No. But note that there is a maximum available budget.

Q: Can they be international members and is the Request for Tender open to SMEs as well as to Technological Centres?
A: Yes, there can be international members and the tender is open to all kind of organisations. But keep in mind that companies need to adhere to the rule from the Horizon2020 funding scheme regarding the place of performance: at least 50% of the R&D work needs to take place in in EU Member States and/or associated countries to Horizon 2020. This 50% rule applies per tenderer. If suppliers apply as a consortium, the 50% rules applies thus to the consortium as a whole, not to each individual supplier inside a consortium.

Q: Can there be a transport authority with its own fleet in the consortium?
A: Anyone can participate, as long as at least 50% of the R&D work takes place in the EU Member States and/or associated countries to Horizon 2020. Mind that consortia need to be prepared to do the field testing in one of the six Procuring Partner cities in Phase 3 of the pre-commercial procurement (Lamia, Gjesdal, Helmond, Helsinki, Tallinn, Porto). The FABULOS partners decide where each consortium has to do its field test.

Q: Do you have a forecast of the maximum length for the proposal?
A: The Request for Tenders will have templates that consortia should use, fill and return. See below the forecast for the forms and page limits:
Form A – General Tender Submission Form: 15 pages
Form B – Exclusion Criteria: 5 pages
Form C – Selection Criteria: 25 pages including CVs of key staff
Form D – Compliance Criteria: 5 pages
Form E – Technical Offer: 35 pages
Form F – Financial Offer and Cost Breakdown: 25 pages
Form G – Financial Offer Phase 1: 3 pages

Q: What kind on consortium do you imagine answering to the FABULOS Request for Tenders? Can you detail the type of actors (manufactures, engineering companies, laboratories etc..)?
A: Any consortium that has a proposal for the full solution. It can be one company or a consortium of multiple companies.

Q: Do local actors (belonging to countries of the FABULOS Procuring Partners) must be included?
A: No. But companies need to adhere to the rule from the Horizon2020 funding scheme regarding the place of performance: at least 50% of the R&D work needs to take place in in EU Member States and/or associated countries to Horizon 2020. This 50% rule applies per tenderer. If suppliers apply as a consortium, the 50% rules applies thus to the consortium as a whole, not to each individual supplier inside a consortium.

Q: Can a main actor be part of several consortia?

A: Yes, but all partners need to agree on this. And because of this there cannot be an exclusivity agreement. Partners that are in multiple consortia must ensure that they have resources available in case all consortia are approved.

Pre-commercial procurement process

Q: How will be selected which company delivers what, in each phase? Do suppliers need to share anything with each other?
A: It is a competitive process. Suppliers work in parallel on their own solution and do not need to share any information. In other words, every supplier must answer all requirements fully: an all-inclusive solution is needed from each partner or consortium. After the end of the FABULOS project, from 2021 onwards, suppliers are naturally welcome to join forces and create spin offs.

Q: Can partners be added or consortia be changed between phases?
A: Phase 2 suppliers will be selected from the successful Phase 1 pool of suppliers. Phase 3 suppliers will be selected from the successful Phase 2. It is a closed process and no one can join in between phases, however, suppliers can add subcontracts in between phases?

Q: One of the benefits of the pre-commercial procurement is that “risk and benefits are shared”. What benefits do you mean exactly?
A: Benefits for procurers are, for example, royalty free access rights to use the end result of the process. Whereas, benefits for suppliers include getting funding and clear set of requirements / wishes from the partnering cities. A pool of cities is made available to test the prototypes and obtain a proof-of-concept. Through the Preferred Partners, a large potential group of buyers can be reached after the solution has been commercialised. Companies have the right to commercialise the IPR and this is in fact expected.

Q: Is it also possible for suppliers to join that have proven technology that are past the prototyping phase?
A: No, in a sense that there is no solution yet on market that satisfies our demands – that FABULOS consortium knows of. This will be validated during the Open Market Consultation in the spring of 2018. The FABULOS Consortium is not searching for a automated bus, but for a full solution that can integrate fleets of buses in transport system of a city. It is evident, that some parts of this solution are in the market or are close-to-market. The idea is to further develop different components, by combining and building on them. Companies that have the elements ready still have to go through the full process of 3 phases of the pre-commercial procurement. But they might have a competitive advantage, such as lower price or higher innovation potential.

Q: Why there are four finalists in Phase 3 and only three vehicles are chosen?
A: We hope to end up with at least four consortia in Phase 3 who can execute the field testing. Depending on the success of Phases 1 and 2, and depending on the financial offers of the consortia, this might also become two, three, five or six consortia. There needs to be a minimum of two consortia in Phase 3. Each of the consortia in Phase 3 must have a full fleet available for the field testing. The exact required size of the fleet is still under discussion and will be announced in the Request for Tenders on 1 September 2018.

Q: Could you directly award the contract for the Commercial Phase to a finalist of Phase 3 – or once Phase 3 is finished, will another open call be opened for the Commercial Phase?
A: The Commercial Phase is out of the scope of the FABULOS project.

Q: What are the main selection criteria?
A: At the moment it looks that there will be five award criteria: Technical quality, Non-functional requirements, Project management, Commercial feasibility, and price.

Q: There is tension between asking for a fixed offer combined with a requirement level that nobody today can be sure of matching. This provides the risk of having to accept compromises in a late stage of the project. That would not be fair to candidates who have declined participation at the start because of not being sure to meet all requirements. How will you handle this in a fair way in the FABULOS project?
A: The FABULOS project wants to be ambitious. However, the specifications that have been presented are not final yet. As for the “fixed offer”, the maximum budget per Supplier is indeed fixed, but companies are expected to also put in their own funding as well as to see the commercial benefits in a long run.  The FABULOS procurement will have three Phases and is a closed process, meaning no new companies can join in half-way. From the bids received, the vision/ambition and capacity will be evaluated against current requirements and level of expectations for the entire project. In addition: after Phase 1 and after Phase 2 there will be a “call off” for the existing Suppliers in that particular Phase: a (non-public) document that fine-tunes the requirements for the next Phase since it might be necessary to adjust to the fast-developing technological and legal progresses. Therefore, if the requirements would change, they change for all Suppliers equally.

Finance

Q: If the tender is accepted, when the funding is provided: before or after the phases of the Pre-Commercial Procurement?
A: Payments corresponding to each Pre-Commercial Procurement phase will be subject to the satisfactory completion of the deliverables and milestones for that phase.

Q: Is the approval of the European Commission needed for the payments for the selected Suppliers?
A: No. As the Leading Procurer Forum Virium Helsinki manages the budget.

Piloting

Q: Has the FABULOS Consortium plans to test the autonomous buses – or have any other kind of activities – anywhere in Africa?
A: The FABULOS is a EU funded project with partners from Norway, Finland, Estonia, Netherlands, Greece and Portugal. In all of these countries, pilots with fleets of self-driving mini-buses will take place in 2020. Therefore pilots are not foreseen elsewhere. But after the project ends in 2020, the solution will be available for commercial procurement globally, also in African countries.

Q: You are talking about testing a fleet of vehicles in phase 3 of the pre-commercial procurement. What size fleet are you thinking about?
A: The size of the fleet will be discussed during the Open Market Consultation phase, but likely not more than 10 vehicles per pilot.

Q: Is it intention to have no safety steward or driver on board during the piloting?
A: Indeed, no one in the vehicle. In exceptional cases operation can be done from a control room.

Q: Will the smaller form factor of vehicle be considered? For example, eight seater pods could also cater for MaaS provision and deliver an equivalent transport service
A: Yes. It’s likely the FABULOS Consortium prescribes the minimum number of seating places on the move during the field testing, thereby leaving some flexibility to the configuration of the vehicle sizes.

Q: When will the field testing locations be decided?
A: The decision over the pilot locations will be made as early as possible. But note that only after evaluation of the phase 2 of the pre-commercial procurement it is known how many and which consortia proceed to the last phase. Decision on pilot locations cannot be made before these facts are known. However, consortia will get a chance to indicate their preferences in an early stage.

Q: Piloting is planned in one out of six cities. To be able to make a meaningful offer, the individual use-case of each city should be known. This is basic for configuration of vehicles, development of safety concept, object oriented programming and obtaining permission to operate.
A: A desired outcome of the FABULOS pre-commercial procurement is, that after commercialisation cities or Public Transport authorities can procure autonomous public transport services as a “one-stop-shop”. Of course final local adjustments and integration will always remain necessary, but will need to be done at the start of phase 3 of the pre-commercial procurement.Certain information on each partner city will be available in the tender documents, like e.g. on APIs, type of traffic light systems, current local PT operations and draft pilot route. This data set will continue to increase throughout the project.

Q: We are worried about the fleet size, especially if a consortium would need to do more than 1 pilot. The budgets for phase 3 of the pre-commercial procurement seem to be quite low and the vehicles are expensive.
A: For phase 3 of the pre-commercial procurement, a fleet of minimum three vehicles in operation at the same time is requested. In case a consortium will execute two pilots in phase 3, these can be done simultaneously or consecutively. Furthermore, it will be allowed that vehicles are leased and not owned by a consortium.

Technical questions

Q: Is the scope focusing on the IT back-end and fleet management or also on new types of vehicles?
A: The FABULOS project looks for a solution that integrates software, hardware, fleet and services. The vehicle is one part of a turnkey solution that encompasses all these elements.

Q: Are the technical requirements optional? For example, are there different requirements for the individual pilot locations regarding operating temperatures.
A: The technical specifications in the Request for Tenders will have both, the “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”. The technical requirements are the same across the different pilot locations, as the proposed solution must work in all urban environments.

Q: How to deal with the upcoming technical developments: 1,5 years is a long time for the product development – what if certain technologies becomes obsolete?
A: After each phase of pre-commercial procurement, requirements for the next phase will be refined in a so-called call-off. This way, the technological developments will be taken into consideration. Also, per phase new subcontractors can be added to the consortium if needed.