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Helsinki Tries Self-Driving Buses in Real Traffic

The vehicles are the second stage in robo-bus development, following an earlier test on less-traveled roads

1 min read
An EasyMile EZ10 self-driving bus in Helsinki.
Photo: SOHJOA-6Aika

Two small, French-made EasyMile EZ10 buses are now driving themselves in real vehicular traffic in Helsinki. A human being is around, just in case

The month long trial, in the south of the city, follows an earlier experiment in a neighboring municipality on streets limited to pedestrian traffic, reports YLE, a local news service. Other places have tried this hothouse-flower experiment, notably in the Netherlands, Switzerland, China, and Britain. Next month the service will move to a municipality immediately east of Helsinki, and then on to Tempere, which is 160 kilometers (99 miles) to the north.

An EZ10 is no Google Car writ large: In its current stage, at least, it goes only 11 kilometers per hour (7 mph), and the point is to exploit only relatively easy routes. 

"Their purpose is to supplement but not to replace” human drivers, says project leader Harri Santamala of the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. “For example the goal could be to use them as a feeder service for high-volume bus or metro traffic…. In other words the mini-bus would know when the connecting service is coming and it would get you there on time.”

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-range radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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