Until 14 September, passengers may travel free of charge in the Estonian capital’s Mustamäe district by self-driving shuttle; the pilot project is carried out in cooperation between the Tallinn city government and Auve Tech, an Estonian company developing self-driving vehicles.
The aim of the pilot project is to explore the possibilities of using self-driving buses.
There will always be a human operator on board the bus to monitor the safety of every manoeuvre and intervene if necessary. The self-driving bus will also be equipped with different types of sensors that will monitor the surrounding objects and their movements. If a pedestrian or any other obstacle gets in the way of the vehicle, the bus is programmed to brake automatically.
The self-driving bus, with eight seats, will run from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 AM and 4 PM, on a 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) circuit at approximately 25-minute intervals.
The shuttle follows a pre-mapped route: the bus and trolleybus stop on Tammsaare tee, the Mustamäe Care Centre, the former Mustamäe district government building and the Maxima shop at Tammsaare tee 133.
Auve Tech’s self-driving vehicle concept grew out of the cooperation with the Tallinn University of Technology, based in Mustamäe, that started in 2017. Last year, the shuttle was tested for two months in Tartu, Estonia’s second largest town.