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Robot buses to hit the streets in Helsinki

The robot bus trials support the city of Helsinki’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2035.Milla Åman

The multinational Sohjoa Baltic project has established a bus route in Helsinki for its autonomous electrical buses in a trial that will last until September. 

The Helsinki pilot will see autonomous buses transport passengers free of charge. Sohjoa Baltic’s idea is to gather information about organising intelligent mobility solutions in a technical sense, as well as in a legal and organisational sense.

“By taking part in the robot bus trials, we’ve gotten first-hand information about the technological developments of cars and forged contacts with autonomous automotive actors,” said Essi Kyllönen, public transport planner at Helsinki Region Transport.

Automated electric buses could support the public transport system in the future, especially in terms of first, last-mile connectivity. The pilot could pave the way for the emergence of the first commercial operators like holo, the Danish company in charge of operating the buses in Helsinki.

“Our first experience of Finland has been excellent and co-operation with Finnish authorities has been smooth,” commented Peter Sorgenfrei, CEO of holo.

The project is a collaborative effort by multiple actors from eight nations from the Baltic Sea rim. The Finnish partners are Forum Virium Helsinki, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. Similar trials are currently underway also in Estonia and Norway.

Metropolia also operates an additional robotbus route in Helsinki, under Helsinki RobobusLine (Kalasatama).

By: Samuli Ojala