As incredible as it sounds, Finnish law doesn’t require the vehicles on its roads to have drivers. That makes it the perfect place to test autonomous tech, which is exactly what’s now happening.
Anyone heading into Helsinki anytime soon should keep an eye out for driverless buses, as the city is testing them on public roads, reports Finnish news outlet YLE.
From the story:
History is being made in Helsinki’s Hernesaari district, as automatic buses take to the streets. Commuters and motorists will have to get used to seeing a pair of driverless mini-buses negotiating traffic in the area as the city tests the robot vehicles through mid-September.
The pilots are among the first in the world, since Finnish laws don’t require vehicles on the road to have a driver. This has made it easier for officials to get the required green light from the transport safety authority Trafi.
YLE notes that Helsinki isn’t actually the first Finnish city to unleash driverless buses on public roads. Last year, the neighboring city of Vantaa had similar vehicles, although those were kept on routes separate from regular traffic.
The Helsinki experiment is considered to be a challenge because the buses must deal with the city’s everyday traffic. Since the buses can only travel up to 10 kmph (about 6.2 mph), motorists prone to road rage should be wary of them.
The driverless buses are not intended to replace the city’s existing buses, but to merely supplement them. They would work well as a connecting service, city officials reason.
Here is a video of what the buses look like: