No Driver, No Problem: Helsinki To Use Autonomous Buses

Following a successful test run, the city of Helsinki, Finland has announced plans to start a regular and scheduled public transit service with self-driving buses.

Dubbed the RoboBusLine, the service will kick off this fall and the city says the move “represents a shift from an experimental phase” to one that will see the service go mainstream. The details are still being hammered out but the route and schedule will be announced later this year.

The move follows a testing period which saw two autonomous EasyMile EZ10 electric minibuses being used to carry passengers on a straight quarter-mile course in Helsinki’s Hernesaari waterfront district. The buses traveled at a leisurely 11 km/h (7 mph) and had an operator on board in case of an emergency.

Testing has moved on to the cities of Espoo and Tampere but will soon return to Helsinki where the buses will be used to shuttle passengers between the Helsinki Zoo and the Mustikkamaa island.

Interestingly, Helsinki doesn’t see the buses as a replacement for traditional public transport but rather a solution for the “last mile of public transit.” In particular, the city notes the buses could be used to take riders from regular public transit stops directly to their homes. This promises to reduce the amount of cars that need to drive into the city.

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  • BLOCKING TRAFFIC ISN’T A GOOD IDEA.

  • sidewaysspin

    And now how will bus drivers feed their families?

    • fabri99

      That’s not a good reason to avoid progress.

    • Status

      They go back to school and become a coder.

  • Plutonium

    Moving box for all the drunks.

  • fabri99

    Looks like a good idea, but…aren’t they a little slow? Perhaps make a specific lane for this autonomous buses to travel in.

    • hughie522

      I thought that, too. They’ve been testing something similar in Perth, Australia, but they have travel at 25 km/h (and can travel up to 45 km/h, albeit at a reduced range).

  • gary4205

    Wait until this thing kills a bunch of people and the lawyers start crawling out of the woodwork.

    • Status

      Humans are already killing each other with cars. Short-term memory you’ve got there, Tex.

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