Sohjoa Baltic - Baltic Sea region transitioning into eco-friendly autonomous last mile public transportation

The project ended on 31st December 2020.

Public transport is not as flexible and accessible as private cars are in the Baltic Sea region. The project works towards increasing the attractiveness of public transport by improving offered services and introducing automated driverless electric minibuses, especially for the first and last mile of the journey. It proposes recommendations for environmentally friendly and smart automated public transport and guidelines on the organisational set-up.

Priority 3 - Sustainable transport, Environmentally friendly urban mobility. Project budget EUR 3.7 M€

Project results

The project’s automated electric shuttle bus pilots were executed as close to real life conditions as the legal framework in each country allowed in Norway, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Denmark. The pilots were divided into three large scale (months) and three small scale (weeks) pilots. The large scale pilots were coordinated by the municipality of Kongsberg in Norway and the small scale pilots by the city of Gdańsk in Poland.

Robotbus pilot numbers by location, duration, number of passengers and kilometres driven:

  • Kongsberg: 9 months, 2536 passengers, 3356 km
  • Helsinki: 4 months, 3932 passengers, 2596 km
  • Tallinn: 4 months, 3952 passengers, 4000 km
  • Gdansk: 1 month, 3325 passengers, 632 km
  • Zemgale (Jelgava): 2 weeks, 3817 passengers, 618 km
  • Zemgale (Aizkraukle): 2 weeks, 1877 passengers, 432 km

In total this results as 19 months, 19 437 passengers and 11 634 driven kilometres.

Sohjoa Baltic publication series

Sohjoa Baltic's The Roadmap to Automated Electric Shuttles in Public Transport publication series provides collected key lessons learned during the project (2017-2020).

Each of five volume in this series has its own focal point:

  1. The Legal Framework (PDF), publisher: What is the current legal status of automated driving in different European countries of the Baltic Sea Region? Sohjoa Baltic presents the relevant legal information for implementation and provides policy recommendations for the future.
  2. Technology and safety requirements, publisher: Metropolia UAS What are the current relevant technological and safety challenges to be taken into consideration in the implementation of automated shuttle buses? Sohjoa Baltic provides information from Germany, Denmark, Poland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and Latvia.
  3. Starting Your Own Pilot (PDF), publisher: Metropolia UAS How to deploy an automated vehicle pilot in a city? Sohjoa Baltic provides a practical toolkit with recommendations based on the practical experiences from automated shuttle bus pilots in Norway, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Denmark.
  4. Procurement Challenges, publisher: Metropolia UAS What are the barriers and enablers of autonomous vehicle procurement in public transportation? The experiences of Sohjoa Baltic’s automated shuttle bus pilots in Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Norway and Poland describe the complexity.
  5. Sohjoa Baltic User experience and impact on public transport, publisher: Metropolia UAS How and why should cities prepare to implement automated public transport? What is the role of automated shuttle buses? Sohjoa Baltic provides views based on experiences from pilots in Norway, Poland, Finland and Estonia.

Other publications

  • Forum Virium Helsinki, a study by Janne Olin: Implementation of connected and automated vehicles into society, on Sohjoa Baltic website.
  • A new work on weather-related issues in autonomous driving was accepted for publication: M. Bellone, A. Ismailogullari, J. Müür, O. Nissin, R. Sell, and R. M. Soe - "Autonomous driving in the real-world: The weather challenge in the Sohjoa Baltic project" Book Chapter - Towards Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Highway: Technical, Security and Ethical Challenges - in EAI/Springer Innovations in Communications and Computing Book series, 2020 (in press)
  • M. Bellone, A. Ismailogullari, T. Kantala, S. Mäkinen, R. M. Soe and M. Åman Kyyrö, "A Cross-Country Comparison of User Experience of Public Autonomous Transport" European Transport Research Review

Organized events

The Sohjoa Baltic Final Event, called The Future of Autonomous Transport in the Baltic Sea Region, was organized on 26.-27.8.2020 in Tallinn. On the first day August 26th, an open-air public exhibition and on the second day August 27th, a conference for the cities and industry were held.

Additionally, Autonomous Public Transport Webinar was organised by Forum Virium Helsinki on June 10th 2020

A showstopper, the Virtual Reality Robotbus 2020 was created and planned to be used at dissemination events TRA2020 (Apr2020) + Transregional Roadshow (summer2020), however Covid19-pandemic postponed these activities. The virtual reality robotbus ride is shared to partners for further dissemination and was showcased at the Final Event.

Project partners

  • Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (FI), lead partner
  • Forum Virium Helsinki (FI)
  • Finnish Transport Safety Agency (FI)
  • Helsinki Region Transport Authority HSL (FI)
  • FLOU Solutions Ltd (FI)
  • Tallinn University of Technology (EE)
  • Tallinn Transport Department (EE)
  • Chalmers University of Technology (SE)
  • Zemgale Planning Region (LV)
  • Institute fro Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (DE)
  • The City of Gdansk (PL)
  • The Municipality of Kongsberg (NO)
  • The Municipality of Vejle (DK)


tki-info [at] (tki-info[at]metropolia[dot]fi)

News and highlights

Pilot in Helsinki 2019

Our pilot in Helsinki, Finland started on 18th June and was planned to last up until 30th September. The route was located in Vuosaari, Aurinkolahti. Bus ran twice an hour, between 9 to 15 on weekdays and between 12 to 18 on weekends. One round took 20 minutes. The route was given number 90R on the regional public transport (HSL) Journey Planner.

The electric automated minibus had room for eight passengers at a time. The trial was free of charge. The safety operator was always on board.

Pilot in Gdansk 2019 was the first in Poland

The robobus in Gdansk bus rans daily until the end of September along Karwienska Street and takes passengers to the zoo. On Friday, 6th of September 2019, the city launched a small scale pilot as a part of the Sohjoa Baltic project. For seven days a week, twice an hour and for five hours a day (according to the schedule) the bus on route number 322 carried passengers free of charge. The route led from the stop at the entrance to the ZOO, through an intermediate stop at the car park to the final stop at Spacerowa Street and back. The vehicle ran along the pre-programmed route, but the operator was present on board to react in the event of an emergency.

- Thanks to Gdańsk's participation in the international Sohjoa Baltic project, we can present an extremely modern transport solution, i.e. an automated bus. Such vehicles could in the future take passengers to interchanges. The technology is new, so we would like to get to know it and think about its application in public transport before autonomous private cars set off on the streets of cities - says Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor of Gdansk, adding that Gdansk will be the first Polish city to have such a possibility.

As the bus is designed as a complementary transport solution, its size corresponds to these needs. A maximum of 12 persons, including the operator, will be transported per course. Buses of similar specification went to Helsinki streets in June and to Tallinn at the end of August. The vehicle in Helsinki has already attracted more than two thousand passengers. The Latvian region of Zemgale is also planning a presentation on a scale similar to that of Gdansk, i.e. over a period of one month.

During the robotbus pilot, passenger feedback was collected. The same questionnaires were filled in by passengers in Kongsberg and Helsinki. In this way, the Sohjoa Baltic project partners learned more about passengers' sense of security and demand for such solutions. Comprehensive results are found on publication User Experience and Impact on Public Transport – Sohjoa Baltic. The Roadmap to Automated Electric Shuttles in Public Transport (