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Robobus Line

Robobus Line
Helsinki, Finland
From to
2 km
Project details


RobobusLine is a pilot project running in Kivikko in eastern Helsinki and complements the 94R line on the network of Helsinki's metropolitan public transit authority, Helsinki Region Transport (HSL). The RobobusLine is station-based with two stops on a fixed-route and is wheelchair accessible. It runs on a defined schedule and is available in the journey planner Reittiopas. The shuttle must respect a speed limit of 50 km/h (lowered to 40 km/h during the pilot), it encounters mixed and heavy traffic on public streets as well as pedestrian crossings and a roundabout.



The project seeks to improve the functionality and efficiency of public transport by means of automation. The objective of the project is to create a base for a seasonal automated bus route and to get closer to the point of having a driverless (remotely operated) first/last mile bus operating efficiently as part of public transport services. Metropolia University's robotic vehicle experiments’ goals are to clarify the compatibility of autonomous mobility technologies to Finnish conditions, their technological maturity level and development targets for the more intelligent mobility infrastructure. Experiments also aim at providing the Finnish business community with the opportunity to design their own products and services related to smarter mobility.

Budget & Financing

Helsinki RobobusLine is financed by the Helsinki Innovation Fund. The pilot is also part of mySMARTLife project which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The total budget for the pilot project is €315,218, plus Metropolia's share in mySMARTLife project budget.

Regulatory Framework

Finland's current road traffic legislation already permits automated vehicle trials so no amendments will be required.

© Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Robobus Line.

© Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Robobus Line.


Among the challenges encountered so far, the speed difference between the shuttle and other vehicles has caused dangerous overtaking. Manual control of the shuttle has therefore been needed every time a vehicle overtakes it to avoid unnecessary braking and the risk of rear-end collision. On a technical level, vegetation around the road has caused unnecessary braking which has reduced travel comfort and has sometimes increased the need for intervention in the operation of the shuttle. Connection between a Real Time Kinematic (RTK) base (installed on a roof of a building next to the road) and the bus has every now and then been lost, preventing the operation of the whole route - which has in turn required a full restart. Programmed stops on an intersection have not always been respected so the shuttle had to be stopped manually as a consequence. The shuttle also once started to unnecessarily turn to the left on a more quiet part of the route.

Results & Evaluation

Other random braking and full stops on the route have occasionally caused critical situations but luckily no collision or injuries have happened so far. Between mid-May 2018 and late September 2018, 1,251 passengers have been transported, with an average of 14.4 passengers per day, 2,766 km have been covered with an average distance of 35 km a day and an average operational speed of 16 km/h. Deviation from the planned route and actual driving times (missed departures) has been of 8.9 % between May 2018 and August 2018.

Associated Research

Associated research to the pilot include: user acceptance, energy consumption, CO2 emission saving, technological maturity, appropriate operating area and integration to the public transport research.

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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.