The FABULOS (Future Automated Bus Urban Level Operation Systems) 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. 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.
Self-driving minibuses have already been tested in various countries, but a proof-of-concept for the management of autonomous fleets as part of the public transportation provision is not yet available. Furthermore, some parts of the driving automation need to reach a more mature stage in their development in order to be employable in normal urban settings, such as open roads. In other words, a demonstration of the economic, technical, societal and legal maturity of the solution needs to be carried out in a real-life setting.
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
Successful procurement requires involving the technology companies and consortia from early on, to gain market insight on state of the art and future developments in the field of automated mini-buses. In order to achieve this, Open Market Consultation is organized to refine and reposition the tender specifications.
The FABULOS Open Market Consultation will be held in Helsinki on 26 April and in Brussels on 14 May 2018. Additionally, webinars are to be held on 10 April and 22 May. During the Open Market Consultation, the FABULOS challenge will be presented alongside the Pre-Commercial Procurement process. There will also be ample opportunities for discussions between procurers and potential suppliers.
In addition, two Open Market Consultation related surveys will be open between 3–17 April 2018. One is targeted for the potential suppliers and another for the potential procurers. The input of suppliers as well as procurers is crucial to the FABULOS Consortium since it enables to shape the request for tender. Surveys also contribute to defining the evaluation criteria of the pre-commercial procurement process.
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 Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal.
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 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.
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