The FABULOS project focuses on how cities can use self-driving minibuses in a systematic way. The goal is to procure the operations of an automated bus line. In Helsinki, the autonomous bus line will be piloted in the Pasila and Kalasatama area in 2020. Companies can receive up to 5.5 million euros to support their R&D work in developing systems capable of operating fleets of automated minibuses.
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 systems of urban areas, based on the use of self-driving minibuses.
The six partner cities are embracing this challenge by collectively procuring R&D for the prototyping and testing of smart systems that are capable of operating a fleet of self-driving minibuses in urban environments. These solutions are expected to be all-inclusive, encompassing software, hardware, fleet and services. Only after the successful integration of these solutions, cities are able to provide considerably better and more sustainable transport solutions for their residents.
“Our aim is to mix walking, cycling and public transport to make it more attractive for people to leave their cars home – or not buy them at all. Automated minibuses could substantially improve the functionality of public transportation by providing agile last mile connections for residents,” says Anni Sinnemäki, the Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment for the City of Helsinki.
Open Market Consultation during spring 2018
Successful innovation procurement requires involving the technology companies and other potential suppliers from early on, to gain market insight on the state of the art and future developments in the field of automated mini-buses. In order to achieve this, a series of Open Market Consultation events are organized to refine and reposition the tender specifications during the spring 2018.
In September and October 2018, an international request for tender will be launched to acquire systems capable of operating fleets of automated minibuses within urban areas. All companies or consortia can apply, with the provision that at least 50% of the R&D needs to take place in the EU or Associated Countries.
When the request for tender is closed, the Pre-Commercial Procurement process will be executed in three phases, ending in September 2020. The first phase is a feasibility study of the selected technologies and proposals. Then, the most promising concepts will be developed into well-defined prototypes and lab-tested in phase two. The third phase aims to verify and compare the first end products in real-life situations. An objective of the FABULOS project is to have the final selected prototypes tested as small fleets of automated buses in all the partnering countries.
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. Forum Virium Helsinki coordinates the FABULOS project and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences acts as a technical advisor. The FABULOS project has also partners in Estonia, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal.
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