Scania and Nobina recently partnered to bring autonomous buses to the Stockholm area. The companies are the largest public transport operators in the Nordic countries.
Trials will be held in two stages—first without passengers then with passengers, according to a news release. Safety drivers will be on board to monitor operations and help passengers when needed.
“The technology is now sufficiently mature to initiate trials in actual bus operations on public roads, making the project one of the first of its kind in Europe with buses this size,” Scania Head of Buses and Coaches Karin Rådström said. “The project will provide a wealth of information in the further development of large autonomous buses before a full-scale introduction.”
The two Scania Citywide LF electric buses will connect the new residential area Barkarby, which is about 20 kilometers from downtown Stockholm, with a nearby metro station. The buses will travel along a new dedicated 5-kilometer route with four stops. Initially, approximately one kilometer will be driven autonomously. During the second phase, about 300 passengers will use the buses each day.
Development is already under way, and trials are expected to begin in 2020. Data will be collected in a variety of areas during the trials, including average speeds, on-time performance, uptime, passenger satisfaction and deviation response. Both companies will manage traffic and control systems for the autonomous buses.
“We at Nobina are highly engaged in establishing what we believe will be an important part of future public transport,” said Henrik Dagnäs, managing director, Nobina Sweden, according to the release. “These trials will provide a great deal of insight and experience going forward concerning the practical everyday aspects of managing and operating autonomous buses and enabling more people to travel by public transport. The demands on autonomous buses will not differ from those in other operations, including reliability, safety and availability.”