On March 7th, the Shotl team were in Helsinki where the first all-weather autonomous electric shuttle was revealed. The vehicle, named Gacha, will be available on public pilot tests, the first of which starts this coming April in the Finnish city of Espoo. This will be shortly followed by trials in Hämeenlinna, Vantaa, and Helsinki before the end of the year.
The minimalistic shuttle was created as part of a collaboration between Japanese design house MUJI, and Sensible4; a Finnish company that developed powerful software which allows the vehicle to connect and engage with real-world situations. Industrial production is predicted to begin in 2021.
Gacha measures 4,5m in length, and is 2,5m wide, and 2,8m high. Its maximum speed is 40km/h and it is able to carry up to 16 passengers (10 seated and 6 standing). It is also fully accessible for people with physical disabilities.
Finland offers a favorable legal framework in which to test out new autonomous mobility concepts as there are no special requirements for drivers to occupy vehicles on public roads.
Shotl's cooperation with Sensible4 started back in January as part of the FABULOS program, a project led by the European Commission that's aimed at demonstrating the impact of self-driving minibuses on future public transport networks. Shotl’s mission is to provide a dispatching system that connects users with Gacha in real-time.
Traditional public transport models must evolve to meet growing demand for flexible, sustainable mobility. Demand-responsive shuttles hold the key to revolutionize the market and reduce dependence on private vehicles.
As demand responsive transportation services progressively take to our streets, our cities will gradually transform into more liveable spaces.