Driverless on-demand vehicle to be tested in Tartu

  • 2022-02-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The City of Tartu, the University of Tartu and the companies Modern Mobility OU, Traffest OU and Bercman Technologies AS have entered into a cooperation agreement to test a driverless vehicle in the provision of on-demand transport services and to validate the necessary technologies and processes. 

The city has been testing VEDAS, a software platform created by Modern Mobility, with on-demand public transport in the Tiksoja, Vorbuse and Kardla areas since November 2021. The service has been well received by residents and now the company is looking to take a new step in the development of future transport by testing a Lexus RX450h self-driving car for this service in April this year, spokespeople for the city government said.

"Developing services in cooperation with businesses and the university is a very good opportunity for the city. Driverless demand-based vehicles will become a natural part of our public transport system in the future, therefore it makes sense to contribute to the testing and development of technologies by implementing pilot projects already today," Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm said. 

The self-driving car can accommodate a total of three passengers, and during the test period there will also be a standby driver and an operator onboard to ensure a safe ride.

Passengers will be asked for permission to be provided with self-driving public transport, and anyone interested can register at the city's toll-free information line at 1789.

In the course of the project, Modern Mobility will interface the VEDAS on-demand transport management information system with the self-driving car's control system and nothing will change in the procedure of ordering transport for residents of the Vorbuse region.

For Modern Mobility, this is not the first time to test self-driving vehicles. In August, a self-driving bus was tested in Tartu in cooperation with AuveTech OU, which was highlighted by Tartu residents also in the Act of the Year contest.

Tanel Talve, head of on-demand transport at Modern Mobility, said he is pleased that the cooperation agreement was concluded between strong experts in their respective fields.

"All parties to the agreement are working to make people's mobility solutions safer, more comfortable and better adapted to their needs. Practice is the criterion of truth, which is why we commend the Tartu city government for being a good role model for innovation specifically through practical action," Talve said.

Modern Mobility, a developer of mobility solutions, was founded in 2018. In the period from 2019 to 2021, the company carried out five pilot projects of self-driving vehicles both in Estonia and abroad.

Autonomous public transport provided by Modern Mobility has also carried passengers in Kadriorg and Ulemiste City in Tallinn, as well as in the Greek city of Lamia. The VEDAS software for the management of smart transport, created by Modern Mobility, is used in providing on-demand public transport services in Tartu and on the island of Saaremaa.