Kick-off phase 2 – driving completely without a host on board

TESTSITE KONGSBERG CITY&LAB

Three years have passed since we started the initiative at Testsite Kongsberg for autonomous transport in cities, and we became a partner in the Sohjoa Baltic project. It has been a success even though we have had many challenges. We have demonstrated, piloted and developed opportunities for self-driving first-last mile minibus transport. Brakar AS now runs the world’s most advanced route for autonomous bus transport, in ordinary scheduled operations in Kongsberg. Founder of Applied Autonomy in Kongsberg, Olav Madland, received The Buskerud County’s Entrepreneur Award in 2019, and the company is growing and leading the way in Europe.

The key to this success is the collaboration between the players, first and foremost the Kongsberg municipality, The Norwegian Public Roads Administration, the technology industry in Kongsberg by Applied Autonomy, the Viken County, ITS-Norway, the University of Southeast Norway and the Public Transportation Company Brakar. Good cooperation provides motivation, security and a team that works together.

The experience of winter driving and driving in a demanding weekday life in open traffic in Kongsberg, has helped to develop even smarter technologies. On January 23, it was a seminar in Kongsberg that marked the kick-off for the next phase of development, driving completely without a host on board. The autonomous minibus drove without anyone aboard at the Church Square, relied on traffic lights, stopped at busstops and stopped for unforeseen obstacles. The demonstration of the technology was very successful and went exactly as planned.

At the seminar there were lectures by others; The Chairman of The Transport and communications committee at Stortinget Helge Orten, The Chairman of the Transport Committee in Viken Bjørn Tore Ødegården, Mayor Kari Anne Sand Kongsberg, CEO Brakar Terje Sundfjord, CEO Daniel Huber Moodley, Professor Christian Omlin University of Agder, Researcher Thor Myklebus Sintef, Industrial Management Forum Kongsberg by Hans Peter Havdal CEO Semcon, Vice President Tone Rabe Herøya Industrial Park.

Here the minibus runs completely by itself at The Church Square without anyone on board to steer it or tell it what to do. Photo: Ingar Vaskinn, The Kongsberg Municipality
Here the minibus runs completely by itself at The Church Square without anyone on board to steer it or tell it what to do. Photo: Ingar Vaskinn, The Kongsberg Municipality

Testsite Kongsberg City & Lab got many good words for the effort and the results that have been achieved. And the company Applied Autonomy was renowned for lifting this area nationally and developing where it is today. There are still many unresolved needs, which means that there is a lot of undoing, and many opportunities to continue on the development that has started. It was 70 participants at the seminar from a number of national companies and organizations.

Helge Orten, Chairman of The Transport. Communication Committee Stortinget
Photo: Terje Lien / Kommunal Rapport
Mayor Kongsberg Kari Anne Sand
Photo: Terje Lien / Kommunal Rapport
Vice President Tone Rabe, Herøya Industrial park
Photo: Terje Lien / Kommunal Rapport
Olav Madland, CEO Applied Autonom
Photo: Ingar Vaskinn / The Municipality of
Kongsberg

As a partner in Sohjoa Baltic, we quickly gained insight into the international status of autonomous transport. And the assignment of managing long-term pilots The Sohjoa Baltic project has given us the opportunity to focus on important prerequisites for scaling autonomous transport. This has become important for the next phase of the initiative, and the opportunity to strengthen the focus on sustainable transport in cities using technology. At Testsite Kongsberg City & Lab we are heading forward to reach our goals. You can follow us at www.cityandlab.no

Testsite Kongsberg City & Lab is a collaboration between The Kongsberg Municipality, The Norwegian Public Roads Administration, The Viken County, Kongsberg Innovation, University of Southern Norway and ITS-Norway.