February 4, 2023

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NRK Norway – A mixture of taxis and buses will be tested – Overview of news from different parts of the country

The plan is for between five and 15 private car-sized vehicles to drive through Groruddalen, depending on where passengers want to go.

In the beginning, there will be a driver on standby in every car, but eventually the cars will drive without anyone behind the wheel.

– We’ll see if it can make us cheaper, more efficient and not least more Collaborative with clients Public transit, says CEO Bernt Reitan Jensen at Roter.

Self-driving vehicles could make public transportation better, says Rotair managing director Bernt Reitan Jensen.

Photo: Kjartan Rørslett/NRK

Also driverless in the 80’s and 90’s regions

Provided that the pilot project receives permission from the Roads Directorate, it will be implemented in an area of ​​approximately 19 square kilometers near Ikea in Voroseit and further afield from Grorudalen.

Self-driving cars must also be able to drive on roads with a speed limit of 80 and 90 kilometers per hour.

As with a taxi, you should be able to request a ride from where you are to where you are going via an app on your phone. But you have to accept that the car may stop and take other passengers in the same direction.

This is how something intermediate between a self-driving taxi and a bus could look like in Ruter's pilot project.

Animation of how the driverless booking bus works.

Illustration: Innova

It doesn’t follow any path

There have been many pilot projects with driverless minibuses in recent years. They usually follow a fixed route and stop at stops.

The cars will be self-driving in Groruddalen Not Stay on schedule or follow a fixed route, but drive when and where passengers want to go (within the experience zone).

– This means leadership in people Wants be with. It’s one more thing than that they have to show up when we Bernt Raytan Jensen thinks they should travel.

Ruter organizes public transport in Oslo and Akershus, and had 398 million rides in 2019, the last normal year before the pandemic. According to Chief Ruter, trains, buses, subways and trams will still be important in the future when many people are traveling in the same direction at the same time.

Stein Helge Mondal, Roads Directorate

– Self-driving vehicles must be able to deal with unexpected events, weather and different driving conditions, says Stein-Helge Mundal from the Roads Directorate.

Photo: Lokman Ghorbani/NRK

Unexpected events must be dealt with

It is up to the Roads Directorate to say yes or no to the pilot project for self-driving vehicles in Groruddalen.

Chief engineer and case manager Stein-Helge Mundal says such vehicles must deal with unexpected events and weather conditions along the way. Those responsible for the project must make an assessment of all the risks that the vehicle may encounter.

Mondal says the principle for granting a permit is that it should be as safe as if the car had a responsible driver.

Safe is not necessarily safe

In Norway, self-driving vehicles have not yet been involved in fatal accidents, as they have been in the United States, according to researcher Ole Asvik of the Institute of Transport Economics.

But the fact that a car is safe doesn’t necessarily mean it feels safe, says Asvik.

He is now working on a PhD thesis on people’s experiences and attitudes towards self-driving buses and taxis.

– The big red emergency button inside the bus can provide safety because you can press it if something happens. At the same time, it easily becomes a sign of danger; “Oh, here I have to be ready to print,” says Asvik.

He is now working on a PhD thesis on people’s experience with self-driving vehicles. Among other things, follow an experiment with self-driving minibuses in Ski, southeast of Oslo.

– We saw there that women and the elderly were more skeptical than others of this technology, and therefore less willing to use it, he says.

Reduces the need for a private car

State-owned Enova is backing the pilot project with NOK 17.5 million. The company believes that carpooling in climate-friendly self-driving cars could open up greener transportation between places where there are currently no good public transportation solutions. According to Enova, these offerings can also reduce the need to own your own vehicle.

An illustration of a self-driving bus being ordered.
Photo: Enova

According to researcher Ole Aasvik, studies have shown that if “everyone” were to own a self-driving car in the future, it would lead to twice as much car traffic than today. On the other hand, if self-driving vehicles become a type of shared property, total vehicle traffic in cities may decrease.

And the price?

– We start with the regular fare for public transportation, because we think this is public transportation. That should be socially fair and possibly make a show of people who don’t have or can’t afford their own car, says Bernt Reitan Jensen at Roter.

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