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Scania and Nobina Collaborate to Trial Full Length Self-Driving Buses Next Year

Scania and Nobina, the largest public transport operator in the Nordic region, are planning to initiate trials in Barkarbystaden with full-size self-driving buses in scheduled traffic [1].

The trials will be carried out in two steps, starting without travellers before the commuters are welcomed on board. As safety is crucial, the buses will have a safety driver to monitor the traffic and assist the passengers. The two electric twelve-meter buses of model Scania Citywide LF have a capacity of 80 passengers (25 seated) and will connect the rapidly growing Barkarby area with the nearest metro station, Akalla. The buses will run along a five-kilometre stretch with four stops in dedicated bus lanes. Initially, about one kilometre of the route is planned to be driven autonomously. During the second phase of the trials, about 300 travellers are expected to use the bus service daily.

The development project is already up and running and the trials will, according to plan, begin in 2020. Throughout the trial period, information on, among other things, average speed, accessibility, service reliability and customer satisfaction will be collected. The plans are set to complement the ongoing trails with smaller self-driving shuttle buses already in progress in Barkarbystaden in collaboration between Region Stockholm, Järfälla municipality and Nobina [2].

 

Personal comments

When full-size buses can be electrified and self-driving there is a strong case for directly using them for operating many of our existing bus routes. This being said, there is great complexity in moving from early trials, with safety drivers on dedicated lanes, to operating fully autonomous in mixed traffic. On the way to getting there, Barkarby should provide a great pilot area with a fairly high-density population in need of a shorter ride to the nearest subway station.

Also, Volvo is developing full-length autonomous buses set to be trialled in Singapore in the upcoming years [3], it seems like the race is on!

 

Written by Victor Malmsten Lundgren, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2019-02-20. Scania i samarbete med Nobina om självkörande bussar

2. 2019-02-20. Nobina och Scania samarbetar om fullstora, självkörande bussar

3. 2019-03-05. Singapore is testing Volvo's full-sized driverless buses