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Autonomous shuttle in Gothenburg: 9 out of 10 are satisfied

Nearly every passenger who rode the first self-driving bus in Gothenburg finds it safe and useful: this is just one of the learnings after completing the first part of the trials in Gothenburg.
Young schoolchildren are some of those who have tried the new self-driving bus in the Chalmers area in Gothenburg. The experiment continues after the summer, when it moves over the river to Lindholmen Science Park.

"Encouraging and useful results!" says project manager Birger Löfgren at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. "It is a first confirmation of the benefit of this new type of vehicle."

Over a period of four weeks, in May and early June, the self-driving bus has transported people along a kilometer-long route around the Chalmers University campus area in Johanneberg. During the tests, research has been carried out on user acceptance and perception, to be used in assessing the potential of self-driving technology.

Interviews have been conducted both before and after people used the electric, self-driving shuttle. The interviews show that there were large expectations on the new vehicle - and that image was reinforced after users had tried the bus themselves. This is how participants answered, before and after riding:

Thought the bus would be useful or quite useful

  • Before riding: 82%
  • After riding: 92%

Expected the service to feel safe or fairly safe

  • Before riding: 83%
  • After riding: 96%

Expected the shuttle to feel secure or fairly secure

  • Before riding: 80%
  • After riding: 91%

"Despite the obvious and deliberate constraints of this bus technology – i.e. how fast and how complicated routes it can drive - the results show that people think it meets the real needs," says Birger Löfgren.

During its test period, the shuttle took more than 100 passengers every day. Anne Rosa Simonsen, Communications Manager at Autonomous Mobility, the Danish operator of the shuttle service, is pleased with the pilot thus far:

"It has been interesting and exciting to drive in an area with so many unexpected challenges related to road work, house construction work, cars, bikes and pedestrians," she says. “And we can conclude that the bus was able to handle many of these situations.”

The project with the self-driving bus in Gothenburg is the second of its kind in Scandinavia. It will continue this autumn, expanding also to Lindholmen Science Park, the growing innovation cluster in Gothenburg, where a large part of Sweden's vehicle technology development is taking place.

"After the summer, we will test how self-driving buses can enable new city planning," says Birger Löfgren. “We go from using one to two vehicles, to explore how they can stimulate reduced traditional car traffic in denser districts of the city. "

Behind this venture lies a partnership between fifteen organizations and companies related to mobility, urban planning and transport. 

The bus-project in Gothenburg is a part of the Government’s innovation partnership program, “The next generation’s travel and transport,” and is funded in part by Vinnova through Drive Sweden.

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A self-driving shuttle with space for 14 passengers is being tested in Gothenburg. Shuttle and small buses reduce the need for parking spaces, which will stimulate the densification of the city. The goal is to test how new, shared transport solutions can contribute to continued sustainable city development.

The project is part of the government’s co-operative program “The next generation’s travel and transport” and is mainly financed by Vinnova through Drive Sweden.

The project is led by the research institute, RISE. Partners: Autonomous Mobility, RISE Viktoria, Chalmers, Chalmers Fastigheter, Ericsson, Förvaltnings AB Framtiden, Härryda Municipality, Karlastaden Utveckling AB, Göteborgs Stads Parkering, Sunfleet, Göteborgs Stad Stadsbyggnadskontoret, Göteborgs Stad Trafikkontoret, Volvo Cars, Västtrafik and Älvstranden Utveckling AB.