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Gdansk paves the way for expansion of autonomous last-mile solutions

Gdansk paves the way for expansion of autonomous last-mile solutions

An autonomous shuttle pilot is to operate at the Łostowicki Cemetery soon

After testing an autonomous bus two years ago, Gdansk is ready to build upon with a second pilot. Thanks to fresh EU funding, the Polish city will this time use the Łostowicki Cemetery to trial a driverless “last mile” solution. The city has just announced that it is currently looking for a contractor to set up the system, which is part of a wider cooperation project for sustainable mobility.

Learning from previous experience in autonomous mobility

Gdansk announced on its website a tender, scheduled for 23 June, the goal of which is to award the organization of an automated electric vehicle trial running on the site of the Łostowice Cemetery. An autonomous shuttle, that can accommodate at least 8 people, should operate on a pre-programmed route with a length of about 800 metres.

Volunteer passengers could use the transport solution for free for a period between 24 and 36 operational days. The conditions of the tender require that the autonomous shuttle be available for at least 6 days a week (including on the weekends) and at least for five hours a day.

For the first week of the trial, there should be an operator onboard, to react in the case of an emergency, while for the remaining period he would have to supervise the vehicle remotely. Moreover, the vehicle should be equipped with safety sensors, an obstacle detection system (360 degrees) and an auxiliary system based, for example, on video cameras. In addition, the vehicle should be accessible for disabled people.

The trial is expected to run anytime between June and end of September, depending on the capacity of the contractor.

Why a “last mile” solution at the cemetery?

In the Łostowicki Cemetery, people over 65 years of age are allowed to move around with motorised vehicles. Every day, 50 to 70 drivers use this opportunity to drive in the largest, 50-hectare, Gdańsk necropolis. The automated shuttle pilot aims to reduce motorized traffic in the cemetery while supporting people with mobility restrictions.

In 2019 Gdansk already tested an autonomous bus transporting volunteers to the Gdańsk Zoo. The vehicle then travelled 632 km, in total, in autonomous mode and carried 3,325 passengers, but there was an operator on board at all times. The city then conducted a public poll to determine locations for future autonomous mobility trials.

The trial is part of a project called Sohjoa Last Mile (last mile is a term referring to the final stretch of a route, between the main communication system and the destination). It is an international collaboration involving partners from Finland, Norway, Estonia and Latvia, which has received European funding under Interreg Baltic Sea programme to the tune of 85% of the total budget.

As part of project activities, the city will also commission a legal study to determine what legislative changes are needed to make it possible to carry passengers on a regular basis on the public transport network. Workshops for local governments, transport operators and research institutions are also previewed.

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