Autonomous buses will arrive in Porto, specifically in the Asprela area, this fall, as part of an international project in which STCP, S.A. is taking part. The tests will be carried out on minibuses, also known as shuttles.
Shuttles will be able to bypass obstacles, such as parked cars. As such, Asprela was the location chosen to test these new smart vehicles, because it’s a busy area and it’s "where most of the universities and Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João are situated, and they represent one of the main STCP, S.A. routes in the Invicta city", highlights the Agência Nacional de Inovação in a statement.
The tests are part of an international project that the exclusive public transport operator in the city of Porto integrates, being the only company at a national level to participate in the consortium consisted of the Forum Virium Helsinki, in Finland, and by the municipalities of Helmond, in the Netherlands, Gjesdal, in Norway, and Lamia, in Greece.
FABULOS, as the project is called, aims to "improve the service level" and foster "a substantial cost savings in one of the main areas of public transport in the city", the same source adds.
The initiative is supported with community funds from Horizon 2020, in the order of 7 million euros, and is in the last phase of its implementation. Enabling the sustainable development of public transport and, above all, "making the future a reality with fewer cars", are the final purposes of this pioneering project on Portuguese land.
Despite not having a driver, the vehicles may have someone who will have as his mission to ensure the safety of passengers during all the journeys.