Mission to SPACE completed: UITP’s automated vehicles project draws to a close
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
- 5 October 2021
This project is the first of its kind in Europe. The goal was to deliver an autonomous on-demand service to the citizens of Trondheim. It was a complex route with 20 stations where the shuttle had to be ordered via a mobile phone application to arrive at the desired stop and take the passenger(s) to their destination. The route had to be dynamic to serve this purpose. Many locations in Trondheim were considered, but the project group decided that Øya was the best suggestion because it's an area which houses about 2000 residents, office buildings and many other services in a geographically small area. The project was organized as a research- and development project. The route opened on the 17th of August 2020 and ran for two months.
The objective of the project was to learn what an on-demand autonomous shuttle could provide to the logistics of a neighborhood. Since the pilot ran in a geographically small area, it was easier to understand what impact such a service would have and which benefits this new technology would bring to the locals. For Applied Autonomy, providing on-demand services and learning how to set up such an advanced route was a big step forward. In the future this will be a key learning for providing the first and last mile transportation to cities and suburbs.
The budget of this project was 120,000 €. It was financed by Trondheim Municipality, Miljøpakken, VY, AtB and Applied Autonomy.
We applied for a permit to use a self driving shuttle in the park. The Norwegian law for self-driving vehicles was used.
There were different challenges in this project. On the one hand, we encountered challenges common to many autonomous shuttle pilots such as potential issues with street parking, privately owned vegetation on the route and a slanted road edge. These challenges were solved by regulating the street parking in several places and limiting it to parking on one side of the road only where needed, informing residents about the issues caused by overhanging vegetation and asking them to make sure that hedges and trees were appropriately trimmed, and setting up safety elements where needed. On the other hand, the more complex route required a longer setup time and more thorough testing.
The Covid-19 pandemic also put some restrictions on the total number of passengers allowed in the shuttle at the same time. As such, shared trips could not be allowed, and a maximum of 3 passengers + operator could be transported on any one trip. The learnings from all of these challenges will help us provide smoother and more efficient on-demand transport in the future.
The results show that it was a positive experience. The shuttle drove 562 km in two months and carried 592 passengers, which is a good number when taking the pandemic into consideration. The shuttle had no issues during the operation. The consumer report showed that most of the passengers were very pleased with the service.
This pilot is associated with three studies: the national research project, SmartFeeder, led by Sintef and Jernbanedirektoratet, the Sohjoa Baltic Project, to which Applied Autonomy transfers knowledge to and City and Lab which is a research collaboration between the National Road Authority, Kongsberg Municipality and Applied Autonomy.
Google Maps: Trondheim on-demand route
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
The SPACE Final Conference will take place on 30 September.
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.
High density environment with an efficient high capacity public transport system with good capillarity and high frequencies.
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, isolated city with an own public transport system and <100K inhabitants.
Low-density environment, small cities and villages with poor public transport services mainly connecting the villages.
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.
Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication is the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.