Tallinn introduces driverless shuttle buses

The Estonian capital, Tallinn, has introduced driverless shuttle buses on its streets that will soon start operating a short route; riding the shuttle, as all public transport in Tallinn, is free of charge for the town’s residents.

The driverless Easymile shuttle buses will start operating a route between Viru Square and the Tallinn Creative Hub, which is one of the main venues of the Estonian presidency of the council of the European Union.

Before taking passengers, the buses have to go through the Estonian Road Administration checks that are required for all buses before they enter into service.

A single shuttle carries up to eight passengers at a time. A presenter will be onboard the bus to explain the technology.

Increasing competence in driverless technology

The shuttles were transported from France to Estonia and they will be operated by Milrem, a home-grown developer of unmanned tracked vehicles. The company will be in charge of training presenters, as well as the technical maintenance of the vehicles. Cyber security will be provided by the Estonian software company Guardtime.

The Estonian ministry of economic affairs wishes to increase competence in driverless technology at the national level, as well as in universities and businesses, in order to be prepared for a more extensive introduction of the technology. To this end, there are plans to test the technology of various producers of driverless vehicles and identify their benefits and limitations.

The testing of driverless vehicles has been allowed on Estonian roads since March 2017. The condition is that the vehicle has a designated person who can take over the controls if necessary.

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Cover: Driverless shuttle in Tallinn. The images are courtesy of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.