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Self-driving demand-responsive vehicle to be tested in Tartu

Tartu City Government Press Release

Isejuhtiv sõiduk Photo: Evelin Lumi

16 February / The City of Tartu, Modern Mobility OÜ, University of Tartu, Traffest OÜ and Bercman Technologies AS signed a cooperation agreement to test a self-driving vehicle in the provision of demand-responsive transport service and to validate the necessary technological solutions and processes.

The City of Tartu has been testing the software platform VEDAS, created by Modern Mobility, since November 2021, with on demand-responsive public transport in the Tiksoja, Vorbuse and Kardla regions. The service has been well received by the people and now a new step is ready to be taken in the development of future transport, testing the provision of this service with the Lexus RX450h selfdriving car, in April of this year.

‘Developing services in partnership with companies and the university is a very good opportunity for the city. Self-driving demand-responsive vehicles will become a natural part of our public transport system in the future, which makes it sensible to contribute to testing and developing technologies by implementing pilot projects today,’ said Raimond Tamm, Deputy Mayor of Tartu.

In total, three passengers can fit in the car, and a safety driver and operator will also be present in the car during the test period, to ensure the safety of the ride. Riders will be asked in advance for their consent to use self-driving public transport, and anyone interested in doing so can contact the city’s free helpline 1789. In the course of the project, Modern Mobility VEDAS will interface the demand-responsive transport management information system with the control system of the selfdriving car, which means that nothing will change for residents of the Vorbuse region when ordering trips.

‘We are really excited to see how self-driving vehicles do when it comes to providing service to the people of Vorbuse. With that, we are taking a step closer to making the service completely automatic,’ said Pirko Kosa, CEO of Modern Mobility.

For Modern Mobility, this will not be its first time testing self-driving vehicles. In August, a self-driving museum bus was tested in Tartu in cooperation with AuveTech OÜ, which was also highlighted by residents of Tartu in the Deed of the Year competition. Tanel Talve, head of demand-responsive transport at Modern Mobility, was pleased that the cooperation agreement has been signed by strong experts in their field. ‘All parties to the agreement are acting in the name of making people’s mobility solutions safer, more comfortable and better suited to their needs. Practice is the criterion of truth, which is why we recognise the Tartu City Government for serving as a good example in developing innovation through practical activities. At the same time, we can also contribute through this cooperation to the development of both Estonian and international legislation to meet rapid technological progress and changes in the mobility needs of people,’ Talve said.

The company Modern Mobility, developer of mobility solutions, was founded in 2018. During the period 2019-2021, 5 pilot projects involving self-driving vehicles have been carried out both in Estonia and abroad. Autonomous public transport has also served passengers in Tallinn, in Kadriorg and Ülemiste City, and also in the Greek city of Lamia. VEDAS, the smart transport management software created by the company, is being used to provide demand-responsive public transport services in Tartu and Saaremaa.

Last changed 16.02.2022