The future is here: Luna and Achilles chucked the van to try out a self-driving minibus!
The 94R (R stands for Robot) is a public (free) bus which only runs a distance of one kilometre at around 20km per hour. No driver means no brake, accelerator pedal or steering wheel. Instead there was a control unit that reminded our travellers of a gaming console. The bus operates using sensors and software, although for now, a supervisor is present on board ready to hit a red “stop” button in an emergency.
The bus is part of Helsinki RobobusLineand mySMARTLife, a project that among other things aims to reduce CO2 emissions and is one of the world’s most advanced initiatives of its kind. The bus can take up to 8 passengers , runs on electricity and is cost effective as well as energy efficient. The 94R is integrated to the journey planner of Helsinki’s metropolitan public transport system and follows a fixed schedule.
The broader aim is to provide environmentally friendly, smart public transport that would reduce the need for private cars – or even eliminate it completely.