Self-driving experiment in Finland successful despite extreme weather conditions

Finnish self-driving technology company Sensible 4 has carried out a successful autonomous driving pilot in Tampere, Finland, despite the worst and most challenging winter conditions in years.

The pilot, which started in January 2022 and lasted for 2.5 months, aimed to see how autonomous vehicles work with public transportation networks and collect feedback from users. Two self-driving Toyota Proace vehicles were used as feeder traffic for the tram trunk line in a suburb of Tampere — a city aiming to pioneer smart city development. The passenger feedback collected was mainly positive and focused on improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

Extreme Cold and Snow Storms

The vehicles were driven in extreme cold, as the temperature dropped from time to time below -20 °C. At other times temperature variation above and below zero degrees Celcius caused the road to be slippery. Heavy snowfalls covered the lane markings and the ploughing brought high piles of snow along the route.

One of the learnings was how to adapt to a snow ploughing track that in some cases was quite far from the bus stop. Another one is how freezing rain affects the hardware and the third is how to adjust to alternate-side parking.

Sensible 4 will continue operating pilots later this year in Norway, Switzerland, Japan and Germany.

SHOW Pilot In a Nutshell

  • Hervanta, in Tampere, Finland
  • 3.1.-10.3.2022 (Mon-Fri)
  • 5569 km
  • 560 h
  • 1663 passengers
  • Max 30 km/h speed
  • 3,5 km route length
  • Mixed traffic
  • Harsh weather conditions
    • Temperatures below -20°C
    • Heavy snowing
    • Freezing rain
    • Slipperiness due to temperature variation around 0 degrees Celsius

Read the original press release on website