Robot bus pilot launched on bus line 90R in Vuosaari, Helsinki

Artikkelikuva: Robot bus pilot launched on bus line 90R in Vuosaari, Helsinki

The new bus line 90R launched in Vuosaari, Helsinki, on 27 September 2021 is part of a robot bus pilot. The pilot will run until 21 November.

The bus line is operated with a self-driving electric robot bus, which drives amidst other traffic. The operation of the vehicle is monitored by an on-board safety driver. The aim of the pilot is to improve the accessibility of Aurinkolahti area and drive at higher average speeds than in previous pilots, closer to the travel speed of current public transport services. The pilot will run until 21 November. The service is free of charge for passengers.

“Pilots like this still need to be carried out in real-life operating environments so that the technology and mobility service can be developed to meet practical needs. In the future, our aim is to first and foremost carry out longer pilots in which the technology and service model can be developed in a systematic and persistent manner,” says Project Manager Eetu Rutanen from Metropolia.

The pilot operator, Roboride, has the capacity to adjust the route and service experience of the robot bus quicker than in previous pilots. For example, changes along the route of the robot bus, such as new traffic arrangements or construction sites, can be reacted to more flexibly than in previous projects.
The robot bus operates on its route under line number 90R on weekdays (Mon–Fri) 8:00–12:00 and 16:00–20:00 (with a four-hour charging break in between) in accordance with the fixed timetables available on HSL’s Journey Planner. Passengers are asked to please follow public transport coronavirus recommendations, including wearing a face mask.

At weekends, the robot bus can be called to a stop on demand

At weekends (Sat–Sun), the robot bus can be called to predefined stops along its route between 9:00 and 12:00 and between 15:00 and 18:00 (with a three-hour charging break in between). The aim of the on-demand service is to ensure that the robot bus, which seats six passengers, is not driven unnecessarily. The bus can be called via a smartphone application. There is a safety driver on board the on-demand bus as well.

Roadside parking restricted during the pilot

The City of Helsinki has temporarily assigned roadside parking spaces at both ends of the Vuosaari route to the robot bus for use as terminal stops, at which the robot bus can stand by while operating as an on-demand service. The bus’s drive battery charging station is located at Vuosaari Health Station.

Pilots require cooperation between multiple parties

The pilot is part of the Ride2Rail project included in the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. The vehicle is manufactured by Auve Tech, which is based in Estonia, and the pilot is operated by Roboride, which is based in Finland. The pilot is being carried out in collaboration with the City of Helsinki, the City’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences’ Smart Mobility innovation hub.

Passengers can submit feedback about the pilot either directly to the safety driver or via a questionnaire prepared by Tampere University’s Transport Research Centre Verne.

Contact details

Eetu Ryynänen, project planner, Forum Virium Helsinki,
Eetu Rutanen, project manager, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences,
Tatu Nieminen, CEO, Roboride Oy,

Further information

Departures and the availability of the on-demand service cannot be guaranteed. Please check HSL’s Journey Planner or the Roboride application for up-to-date information.

Robot bus operation and on-demand call function: link to the Roboride application page

More information on the Ride2Rail project is available on Forum Virium Helsinki’s website

Photo: Metropolia/Eetu Rutanen

Additional information

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