Norwegian officials plan to introduce some boxy-looking electric vehicles next summer that will drive themselves where passengers want to go. They’re set to be tested by Ruter, Oslo’s public transport agency.
A prototype of such vehicles, already being tested abroad, was in Norway earlier this year and clearly made an impression as it drove a short route through downtown Oslo with government ministers, other politicians, media and police along for the ride. Now Ruter is moving from the stunt phase to a testing phase, in cooperation with Oslo’s city agency in charge of transport and the environment.
The test project will run in an area of Oslo or the surrounding county of Akershus. The goal is to eventually get a fleet of up to 20 self-driving vehicles into service. Passengers will be able to order a vehicle operating in a specific area via en app, and be picked up and driven exactly where they want to go within the area. Other passengers may be picked up along the way.
Officials are keen to see how the service can function in practice, with the hopes of making self-driving electric mini-busses part of the overall public transport on offer.