Mission to SPACE completed: UITP’s automated vehicles project draws to a close
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
- 5 October 2021
Ruter believes that shared autonomous mobility will play an important part of the future transportation system. We therefore want to be in front of the development to learn and utilize the technology advances in this area.
Route 85B operated (ended in December 2020) with three vehicles in a neighbourhood, complementing another existing bus line to increase the frequency for passengers in the area. The vehicles operated on a fixed route/schedule, as an integrated part of the Oslo public transport network. The vehicles on site operated both in rush-hour and non-rush hour on weekdays and over the weekends.
The route covered regular public roads with mixed traffic with private cars and interaction with another traditional bus line. The route had ten bus stops, where nine of the ten stops are shared with the traditional bus line.
Ruter wants to understand what self-driving vehicles can mean for everyday logistics in a neighbourhood. By increasing the frequency of public transport by using smaller self-driving vehicles, we aim to decrease the need for a private car in the given area. Given that it is also a relatively limited and restricted area, it is possible to investigate the actual effect of such an improvement.
At Nedre Bekkelaget we operated in a neighborhood with a service that affects the everyday lives of those who live there. To offer a reliable and valuable service for the citizens of Nedre Bekkelaget, we needed to manage to offer operational stability. Our focus is therefore to improve competencies and processes within participating organizations to enable stable and reliable operation. This is also a key success factor for enabling new, more complex projects in the months/years to come.
AV testing is enabled through a separate legislation and is obtained through a special permit from the Directorate of Public Roads.
The project was in operation until the end of 2020.
The service was launched late December 2019 with one vehicle, and during January two more vehicles were added to the service. Since the launch of one vehicle in December route 85B has had over 2000 traveling passengers, with a range from 30-100 passengers per day.
During a normal week the vehicles traveled approximately 150 km per day from Monday to Friday, and close to 80 km on Saturdays and Sundays. The vehicles operated in a range from 12 km/h to 18 km/h depending on where it was on the traffic situation on the actual part of the route.
The first 3-4 weeks in service the operation was partially halted in periods due to technical issues with the vehicles. After this the vehicle reliability has increased noticeably. On some occasion’s operation has been halted due to challenging weather conditions such as rain and icy roads.
Reports from safety drives in the vehicles indicate that customer satisfaction is high, and no accidents have occurred so far.
• Cooperation with the Institute of Transport Economics (TØI): The testing of self-driving vehicles is carried out in close collaboration with the Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) in several arenas, including through the Autobus project, where TØI studies customer behavior and interaction in traffic from a self-driving perspective. The tests are also used in the research work TØI carries out in connection with Drive to the Future. The Drive2TheFuture project aims to prepare drivers, travelers and vehicle operators for the future to create acceptance for autonomous means of transport.
• SmartFeeder: The SmartFeeder project will identify challenges and gain experience from the best solutions in various self-driving pilot projects in Norway. The project is partly financed by the Norwegian Research Council through “Transport 2025”. Co-pilots are ForusShuttle, OBOS at Fornebu, Kongsberg Test Arena, Gjøvik and Ruter.
• The project is financed by Climate funds. Read more about the project and the report here.
• EU Horizon 2020 - project AVENUE: Grants for demonstrations of autonomous solutions in urban areas. The trials at Nedre Bekkelaget are a part of AVENUE through our R&D partner Holo.
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
The SPACE Final Conference will take place on 30 September.
7 words explained
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.