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Pilot

ELIN – Ride the future

ELIN – Ride the future
Location
Linköping, Sweden
Date
From to
Length
2 km in phase 1, adding 1.5 km more in phase 2
Project details

What

ELIN is a multibrand pilot consisting of two autonomous buses that run along a two-kilometre route in Linköping’s Valla district . The area includes the campus of Linköping University (LiU), residential housing and businesses. The area will be extended during 2021 as a part of the EU project SHOW.

Since February 2020 one Easymile and one Navya shuttle, both with safety drivers on board, drive a circular 2 km route with eight marked bus stops. The service is currently free of charge.

The ELIN project is a collaboration between Linköping University, VTI, Linköping municipality, Transdev, Östgötatrafiken, RISE, Akademiska Hus, and Mjärdevi Science Park.

Why

The buses are one component in a research collaboration to demonstrate how electrified, autonomous will be an integrated part in future sustainable cities. ELIN is furthermore an open platform for research and studies, and for collaboration and co-production supporting sustainable transportation and regional development.

Budget & Financing

The budget of phase 1 is 1.25 M€ for operation, funded as a collaboration between the eight core partners. Additional research funding mainly comes from governmental research funding programs.

Regulatory Framework

Projects with automated vehicles on public roads require permission from the Swedish Transport Agency. Current legislation requires the presence of a physical driver inside or outside the vehicle. From 2021 the legislation will allow for more advanced testing without a physical driver.

For routes which include driving on roads dedicated for other road users (bus lanes, bike lanes) the municipality of Linköping (land owner) needs to issue an exemption.

Challenges

Employing novel technologies into real world conditions is a “learn by doing” process with challenges ranging from practical problems to more administrative ones. While the use of two different bus-makes gives a broad experience, situations which require individual handling also occur. Barriers regarding willingness to use shared solutions is another challenge, emphasized through the Covid-19 pandemic (since March 2020).

Results & Evaluation

During the first seven months, from the start in November 2019, the buses have completed over 720 hours and more than 4000 km with a total of about 1500 passengers, despite the Covid-19 outbreak. No incidents have been reported.

Some technical difficulties have been encountered and solved. These include interaction with infrastructural elements that may have shifted and growing “greens”, which points out the importance of maintenance. Furthermore, some modifications have been made to the respective vehicle’s hardware and software in order to comply to the regulatory assessment by the Swedish Transport Agency.

Associated Research

ELIN is a part of several national and international research projects, such as the Horizon 2020 project SHOW. https://show-project.eu/

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Lexicon

7 words explained

platooning

Also known as flocking. A collection of (automated) vehicles that travel together, actively coordinated in formation. Platoons decrease the distances between vehicles using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling. Platooning allows many vehicles to accelerate or brake simultaneously.

urban setting

High density environment with an efficient high capacity public transport system with good capillarity and high frequencies.

suburban setting

Medium density environment with a good public transport system with radial connections to the city center, but lower capillarity and frequencies. This setting includes suburban cities.

small cities

Small, isolated city with an own public transport system and <100K inhabitants.

rural

Low-density environment, small cities and villages with poor public transport services mainly connecting the villages.

SAE level

The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) levels define the level of vehicle autonomy, or in other words, how much human intervention is still needed for an automated vehicle to operate. Currently, five SAE levels have been defined: Level 0: Automated system issues warnings and may momentarily intervene but has no sustained vehicle control. Level 1 (hands on): Driver and automatic system share vehicle control. The driver must be ready to retake full control at any time. Level 2 (hands off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 3 (eyes off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 4 (mind off): As level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety, e.g. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver's seat. Level 5 (steering wheel optional): No human intervention is required at all. An example would be a robotic taxi.

V2X

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication is the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.