The goal of the autonomous vehicle solution of the Mobile Civitatem Consortium is clear: extending the reach of public transport to wider service areas. When this is achieved, a higher quality of service will be reached enabling a smoother mobility chain. And this is exactly where the FABULOS project is targeting at.
The FABULOS project aims to push the boundaries of automated public transport, as the current level of maturity is not high enough to be commercially or technically viable. In the project, the procurers support companies with innovative solutions and provide a first customer test reference.
In 2019 the project entered its second phase, where the aim was to ensure that the prototypes developed in the first phase of the pre-commercial procurement, meet the project requirements. One of the Phase 2 participants is the Mobile Civitatem Consortium, which consists of four partners from Estonia: Modern Mobility Oü, Tallinn University of Technology, AuVe Tech Oü and Fleet Complete Eesti Oü. The fifth member of the consortium is the Danish company Holo A/S.
The FABULOS project interviewed Project Leader Pirko Konsa from Modern Mobility about the vision of the consortium.
Tell us more about the cooperation in the consortium?
The idea to participate in the FABULOS started to circulate with TalTECH when they initiated to build an autonomous shuttle for the 100th anniversary of Tallinn Technical University. At the same time, Modern Mobility had just started to plan a demand responsive transport solution for Saaremaa, the largest island of Estonia.
What is the vision of your solution?
Our vision is to focus on offering a turn-key solution that could extend the service area of existing mass transit solutions in sub-urban areas and business parks. We see that public transport could offer much higher quality, if the last mile journeys are solved in a more innovative way.
What do you think the future of autonomous traffic will look like?
Autonomous traffic would have been already here if infrastructure had excluded humans and their unpredictable behaviour from routes of autonomous vehicles on streets. But redesigning of streets and cities will take time. In the near future, we will probably see more and more vehicles travelling at a speed of 20 or 30 km/h delivering goods or offering door-to-door transport in low traffic intensity areas. This is more problematic on busy streets with higher speeds.
I believe that we will see innovative approaches like mobile nurseries, shops, meeting rooms, postal offices or kindergartens and less parking lots for private cars in cities. This will have a considerable impact on the future cities and their traffic solutions.
How do you feel about pre-commercial procurement as an innovation tool?
I really like the approach. It’s our first time to participate in such a procurement. I like that there is much less paperwork and the focus is on innovation and on the achievement of the goals. Also, competition with clear milestones makes it quite clear and simple.
What is your goal in terms of the FABULOS project?
The FABULOS project gives us the opportunity to develop a service in cooperation with potential customers. We were thinking of developing a solution already before FABULOS project, but now we are able to share the risks of innovation in a reasonable way with potential future clients.
FABULOS (Future Automated Bus Urban Level Operation System) is a research and development project to establish and to deliver a systemic proof-of-concept on automated last mile public transport as part of existing transport system of urban areas, based on the use of self-driving minibuses. The FABULOS project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and runs from 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2020. The FABULOS project has partners in Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal.
Photo: Oscar Nissin
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