A trial involving a self-driving electric minivan (minibus) that is remotely controlled and monitored using 5G technology launched last week in Stockholm, Sweden.
The testing will be quite limited, taking place in the popular tourist destination of Royal Djurgården. Over two weeks from September 24 to October 8, 2020, the autonomous minibus will drive along a 1.6 km route serving several popular museums.
The goal of the project is to test how well 5G-connected vehicles that are remotely monitored can help speed up the introduction of self-driving electric buses in complex and demanding urban areas. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles, it is hoped the real-time connectedness can help optimise route planning and traffic flow.
“Since the launch of the world’s first driverless metro in Lille (France) in 1983, Keolis has been drawing on its expertise as a pioneer in autonomous mobility to make shared mobility smarter, more connected and more sustainable. This ground-breaking trial in collaboration with our key partners constitutes another important step forward,” says Bernard Tabary, CEO International at Keolis.
With the 5G network and high data speeds and low latency, the vehicle can be operated remotely in real-time. To ensure the safety of passengers, a driver will be present in the vehicle at all times.
By the end of the trial, the company hopes to be able to pilot the vehicle remotely without a driver on board.
The project is being conducted through a partnership with Keolis, a multinational transportation company that operates public transport systems, and telecommunications companies Telia and Ericsson.