Published: October 27, 2015 | Trikala, Greece
The city of Trikala, in central Greece, is the first in Europe to host a driverless bus in the city center. It is part of CityMobil2, an EU-funded pilot project to revolutionise mass transport and wean Europe’s cities off oil dependency over the next 30 years. Each in turn, five different sites are hosting the 6-month pilot project.
The CityMobil2 large-scale demonstration in Trikala (Greece) will be officially launched by the municipality of Trikala during an opening ceremony on Tuesday 10 November. The idea is not to replace ordinary buses but to offer a mixed transport service, with improved transport in areas of low or dispersed demand.
The buses, which are built by French manufacturer Robosoft, are 5 meters long and 1.5 meters wide and can carry up to 10 people. They travel at a speed of about 20 km/hour and run along a 2.4 km route.
The vehicles are equipped with an advanced GPS and a laser mapping system for localization and movement control. Laser and ultrasound technologies are used to detect obstacles. Each bus is powered by twelve batteries, which need around two hours to charge.
Over summer 2015, the city authorities of Trikala constructed a dedicated newly-asphalted lane, installed a control center and finalised technical details, from traffic lights to the installation of road segregation equipment.
The first Robosoft vehicles arrived in the city on June 2015 for the initial tests in order to map the route and for the last preparations. In parallel, the Greek legal framework has been set up to enable the implementation of the demonstration. The first two CityMobil2 vehicles received their plates on Monday 14 September 2015. Using special number plates, the demonstration vehicles are insured and covered by National Law in operation. Greece is the first EU country to apply an early stage National Law for automated transportation. Please watch the film below.
Local authorities have launched a public awareness campaign to inform prospective passengers and motorists, even though some chose to ignore the directives and use the specially equipped bus lane anyway. In the control room, everything is recorded. In the event of a problem, traffic police are called in or an authorised driver is sent to move the bus.
The buses will leave Trikala at the end of February and the bus lane will be turned into a bike lane. The Spanish city of Leon is the next stop on the long road ahead to one day, perhaps, creating an efficient and clean public transport system in Europe’s cities.
Source: CityMobil2, Euronews