The FABULOS procuring partners have awarded four international consortia with contracts. Based on the results of their feasibility study, each consortium will develop a prototype of a smart system that can operate a fleet of self-driving shuttles in regular public transport. The work starts in June and the prototypes will be tested in lab-type environments during the autumn of 2019.
The overall aim of the six procuring partners is to collectively procure R&D for the prototyping and testing of systems capable of operating fleets of self-driving shuttles in all urban environments. The specific aim of this second phase of the pre-commercial procurement (PCP) is to verify the extent to which the main features of the prototypes meet the functional and performance requirements set in the FABULOS challenge.
In the first phase of the PCP, the five consortia developed their concept and system architecture in order to respond to the mobility needs of the procuring cities. All consortia were successful in Phase 1 and received a full compensation for their work. Based on the evaluation by the FABULOS Technical Evaluation Committee, the four consortia that reached all the critical thresholds were invited for the second phase of the PCP.
Boosting novel mobility solutions
The ambitious goal of the FABULOS project is to push the boundaries of automated public transport, as the current level of maturity is not high enough to be commercially or technically viable as a part of the mobility chain. The FABULOS procurers support companies with innovative solutions and provide a first customer test reference. For this second phase of the PCP, the consortia can receive up to 251,600 euros. In the final phase, the budgets increase to up to 760,000 euros per consortium.
The four consortia that were awarded contracts consist of 14 promising start-ups and more established companies as follows:
- Sensible 4 – Shotl Consortium with two partners: Sensible 4 from Finland and Shotl from Spain. The consortium is utilising the recently launched automated Gacha bus from Sensible4 and MUJI, and implementing Shotl’s mobility platform for on-demand routing and fleet management. Shotl recently won the Gold Prize in European Startup Prize for Mobility 2019.
- FVF Consortium with three Finnish partners: Fleetonomy AI, Nodeon and VTT Technological Research Centre. In this consortium the partners combine a long history of self-driving technology research in Nordic conditions with the newest on-demand fleet management technologies.
- Mobile Civitatem Consortium with one Danish and four Estonian partners: Autonomous Mobility from Denmark and Modern Mobility, Tallinn University of Technology, AuVeTech and Fleet Complete from Estonia. This consortium is building and testing their own Iseauto vehicle, together with new automated driving systems.
- Saga Consortium with four partners: Halogen, Forus PRT and Ramboll Management Consulting from Norway together with Spare Labs from Canada. The consortium is focusing on a vehicle-agnostic and user-centric approach. Spare Labs, the platform for on-demand mobility and fleet management, just announced a $6 million seed funding round led by Mitsubishi Corporation.
Transforming concepts into working prototypes
The aim of the second phase of the PCP is to take the most promising concepts and develop them into working prototypes. It will include testing of holistic autonomous shuttle service solutions, conducted in R&D facilities of the four consortia. Functionality, interoperability and security tests will be conducted, simulating urban conditions.
The final phase, field testing, aims to verify and compare the first end products in real-life conditions. It is expected that the three winning consortia will test their prototypes as small fleets of automated buses in mixed traffic in Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal from March 2020 onwards. In this way, the FABULOS project will accelerate the introduction of new types of automated last-mile solutions entering the European market.
FABULOS (Future Automated Bus Urban Level Operation System) is a research and development project that seeks to establish and deliver a systemic proof-of-concept for automated last-mile public transport as part of the 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 will run from 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2020. The FABULOS project has partners in Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal.