Finland prepares for self-driving shuttle service this fall

Finland could be the first country to have a regular autonomous shuttle service, with city transportation officials aiming to debut the service this fall.

Tests have been ongoing since August 2016, when the shuttle was first deployed on a quarter-mile course with 12 passengers on board.

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Since then, improvements have been made to the sensors and self-driving software. It is now able to run longer routes and could be used for multiple purposes, including last mile deliveries and as a taxi for the elderly.

Targeting six biggest Finnish cities

Sohjoa, the EU-backed project that counts Finland’s six most populated cities, Finnish universities and transport officials as members, will release finalized information on the route, schedule, and launch date later in the year, according to Curbed.

The autonomous shuttle aims to reduce car ownership by making public transportation quick, direct, and safe. Finland is already promoting several other projects that look to improve public transportation options and reduce carbon emissions.

Finland has become a hotspot for self-driving cars due to its transport laws not restricting the testing or deployment of autonomous vehicles. A car technically does not need a driver in Finland, meaning as long as the tech is safe, it has a place on the road.

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