The first autonomous buses has hit the roads of Norway

Autonomous transport has found its way to Norway. Today, the first self-driving buses in the Oslo region opened their doors to the public.

Bærum are now testing autonomous buses for public transport. The project is one of the first of its kind in Norway and will generate insight on how the technology can contribute to city development. The project is based on cooperation between the municipality of Bærum and the businesses OBOS, Acando, Ruter and Nobina. The municipality has played a key role in enabling the project to take place at Fornebu in Bærum.

– It’s important that municipalities, businesses and academics work together to develop the smart cities of the future. We depend on the municipalities’ participation in order to use public roads and infrastructure, says Sven Ivar Mørch, CEO of Acando Norway.

The project partners are connected through a local partnership, named SmartCity Bærum. Acando leads the project, and OBOS is the owner. OBOS is Norway’s largest cooperative building association.

– With OBOS as the project’s owner, we see that actors outside the transport sector are also able to be disruptive. They can take market shares by thinking in a new and innovative way. Real-estate projects far from public transport can become more attractive with the use of self-driving mini buses, says Mørch.

The project is a step towards smarter and more sustainable transport in the Oslo region. The aim of the project is to see how autonomous vehicles work in real life.

–  Self-driving vehicles [..] will change the future’s public transport. The potential of these vehicles is huge, and they will be necessary to get green transport solutions that are simple, effective and safe, says Lisbeth Hammer Krog, the Major of Bærum.

Photo: Morten Bendiksen

Photo: Morten Bendiksen

The self-driving buses in Bærum have eight cameras each and will be travelling at a speed of 12 kilometres per hour. The buses are delivered by EasyMile, and are supposedly very safe and well-adapted to traffic. There will be two buses in use during the project, which runs from mid-June till the end of August. The first trip was successfully completed on Friday last week, while the route officially opened for the public today. A similar project, called Sohjoa, will take place in Kongsberg next year. The Sohjoa project has been granted EU-funding.

This article was originally published in Norwegian.