Almost two years after the first self-driving vehicles began to roll the campus area in Linköping, it is time to welcome a third vehicle in the “Ride the future” project. The new vehicle is manufactured by EasyMile and with this addition, Ride the future will be one of the largest autonomous vehicle projects in Sweden.
After Busse and Reza, Ride the future has a new family member. Now it’s time to put the project’s third autonomous vehicle into operation on campus and in Vallastaden in Linköping.
– The fact that the project is growing is very positive. We continue to build the sustainable city of the future and take the lead in the development of new sustainable mobility solutions, says Muharrem Demirok (C), chairman of the community building committee in Linköping municipality.
A name competition for the third vehicle was organized where the project’s safety drivers were allowed to contribute with their own name suggestions. The winning name was “Hjulia”.
– By investing in a third vehicle, we can expand the project and offer a larger field study to researchers who want to test and develop interesting studies on future mobility. We create completely unique conditions for mobility research, an area that is growing and becoming increasingly important for building the sustainable society of the future, adds Anna Anund, VTI (The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute ).
Ride the future is the only project in Sweden that has vehicles from two different manufacturers that communicate with each other in the same ecosystem. With this addition, Ride the future will also be one of the largest projects with autonomous vehicles in Sweden.
– With Hjulia, we can increase the continuity of operations. The fact that the vehicles have different technologies and should be able to communicate together and with the traffic management means that we get closer to what such solutions may look like in the future. This makes the Ride the future project extra interesting, says Hugo Hardestam, project manager at Transdev Sverige AB.
Ride the future is a research project whose purpose is to find out how electrified and self-driving minibuses can complement existing public transport and thereby increase public transport’s competitiveness vis-à-vis the privately owned car, and make it easier for more people to travel by public transport. The partners in the project are VTI, Linköping University (LiU), Östgötatrafiken, Transdev, Akademiska hus, RISE, Linköping Science Park and Linköping Municipality.
The buses run a four-kilometer stretch on the campus area and Vallastaden in Linköping with 13 stops. Unique to the project is the work with three vehicles of two different types that interact with each other: Navya Autonomous Shuttle DL4 and EasyMile EZ10 gen2 which takes 11-13 passengers. The third vehicle that has now been put into action is of the type EasyMile EZ10 gen2.
A safety driver is on board on each turn and is responsible for the vehicle’s driving by monitoring the driving, acts as a customer host, and, if necessary, takes over manual control.