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No-Operator autonomous shuttle – Herøya, Norway

No-Operator autonomous shuttle – Herøya, Norway
Herøy, Norway
From to
500 meters back and forth
Project details


The goal of this pilot was to implement an autonomous shuttle service with no operator on board for the first time in Northern Europe. The chosen site was Herøya Industrial Park, where the shuttle transported people from the main gate to the workshop at the end of the route. The route had three stops, one in each end of the route and one in the middle of the route at the cantine. There were two intersections on the route where the shuttle had the right of way. The shuttle ran for 14 days and operational hours were from 08.00 to 16.00. A shuttle supervisor was on site during operations and kept the shuttle in sight.

The pilot was opened on 30 October 2020 by the Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg, who was also the first passenger on board the service.


The objective was to not have an operator on board and test shuttle functionalities with only a supervisor present near the track. This is a step towards the main goal of having an autonomous shuttle provide a transport service for cities and larger industrial parks. Taking the operator out of the shuttle is a big step forward because in the future it will be more cost effective, safer and environmentally friendly to have one operator running multiple shuttles from a remote control center.

Budget & Financing

The budget of this project was €50.000 EUR. It was financed by the Herøya Industrial Park, VY, Yara and Applied Autonomy.


The challenge was to get everything in place for a no-operator service, and we had to rent barriers along the route to increase safety. We had to put up signs that stated that the autonomous shuttle had the right of way, which also gave people in the area information that there was an unmanned vehicle on site. One of the intersections is very busy, with lorries, cars and pedestrians passing. At this industrial park there are about 2500 employees and a lot of traffic in and out. Due to covid-19 we had to limit the number of passengers to 4.

Regulatory Framework

We applied for a permit to use a self driving shuttle in the park. The Norwegian law for self-driving vehicles was used.

Results & Evaluation

In the end this was a very positive experience, the shuttle ran without any issues. We had only positive feedback from passengers and other people working in the park. The total travelled distance was 117km and the passenger count was 165. The vehicle did not have any reliability issues. We didn't use the 5G network because the 4G connection had good enough data transfer for this pilot, but in future no-op shuttles, 5G network will be preferred when there are multiple shuttles connected that require monitoring at the same time.

Associated research:

Google maps: Link to the route at Herøya

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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.

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.


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.


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