Finland is testing self-driving buses out on the roads of Helsinki. It is one of the first trials of this kind, and it will continue until the middle of September. The Finish legislation does not require vehicles to be operated by a driver.
Two autonomous buses have been rolled out on the roads of the capital of Finland in this unique one-month trial. The Easymile EZ-10, as they are called, electric buses can carry up to twelve people. These vehicles have been tested on public roads in Finland and in Japan before, but this is the first time they will be seen alongside man-driven cars.
To pretty much everyone’s surprise, the Finish legislation is extremely flexible. It does not require a driver in order to drive a vehicle. This being said, Finland is an ideal spot for such tests. Helsinki is not the only Finish city to have seen such technology. Last year, similar vehicles have been rolled out in the city of Vantaa. However, they have not run alongside other traffic participants.
If the tests are successful, the automated vehicles could very well be used to extend the country’s public transport system. Helsinki is involved in a ten-year program that will make car ownership unnecessary. By 2025, the city officials plan to transform the current public transport network into a more comprehensive system. They theorize that by then, nobody will have any reason to use a car to move within the city.
Finland and Japan are not the only countries interested in investing in driverless vehicles. A growing number of projects involving autonomous cars are on a roll. Among them, we have China, which tested a full-size automated bus on regular roads just last year.
Baidu, Inc, a Chinese internet company is said to be planning a mass production of automated buses within five years. And that’s not all. Tesla Motors, the American automotive company, has hinted that an autonomous bus project might soon be on the way. It looks as if we should be expecting to see a big change in the way we travel within the borders of our city in the next years.
What do you think about the fact that Finland is testing self-driving buses? Would you dare use one?
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