Sensible 4 Claims Proven Driverless Tech in Artic Conditions

Autonomous technology specialist Sensible 4 claims a world first in proving its automated driving systems worked in a long-term trial within the Artic Circle.

The trial, spanning three seasons, took place in harsh Arctic weather conditions in Bodø, Norway. The Nordic-led project provided valuable insights and data, which will be used further to develop and enhance automated driving technology in harsh weather conditions. The first long-term automated driving project, carried out by a collective of Mobility Forus, Boreal, Nordland County Municipality, Bodø Municipality and Sensible 4, ended as a success the organizations say.

The half-year project was carried out using two Sensible 4 automated Toyota Proace Verso Electric vehicles. The vehicles drove a 2.23 mile route, providing a transport link for the local residents by linking the local harbour with the hospital. One of the key technical challenges of the project was for the automated vehicles to be able to contend with Bodø’s notoriously challenging weather throughout summer, autumn and winter.

The automated driving project not only allowed for the testing and development of the technology but it also provided a public transport service, creating a route which was long awaited for. Before the project started, the only way to access the hospital was with a private car or taxi. For the first time, electric Toyota Proace vehicles, which were automated for the trial by Sensible 4, were driving long, 14-hour days. The project generated data about how diesel vehicles differ from electric and long-hours offered a wide range of data and experience. During the project, Sensible 4 claims to have improved the driving experience, making it even smoother than before, the perception of the environment improved and the user interface was tuned based on the safety operator feedback.

Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4, said: “Bodø is often described as a city where you can experience all four seasons in one day. In that sense, we certainly got what we wished for. We truly want to learn from the most difficult driving conditions and whilst we’re experienced in driving in harsh Nordic conditions – Bodø was unique. We had to contend with heavy rain, falling leaves, strong wind, ice, and falling snow.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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