Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan; Satoru Matsuzaki, President & Representative Director; hereafter RKJ) has announced today that it has supplied the design for the Autonomous shuttle Bus [Gacha (TBD)] in Finland with the aim of rolling out this public transportation in 2020.
The Gacha Shuttle Bus is the first autonomous bus in the world for all weather conditions. Sensible 4 - Espoo, Finland／CEO： Harri Santamala - is providing the autonomous driving technology with the support of three Finnish cities (Espoo, Vantaa, Hämeenlinna).
Weather plays a critical role in opening the market for autonomous buses or robotaxis. Currently heavy rain, fog, and snow prevent autonomous vehicles from driving, as the existing technologies are mostly being tested and developed in warm climate conditions. Sensible 4 has focused on technology tests and validation under arctic Lapland conditions.
MUJI proposes a pleasant life. This not only covers products for daily life but also the challenges faced by different communities. The advanced technology of autonomous driving has potential in the countryside where decreasing birthrates and aging populations are causing problems in these communities. The Gacha autonomous shuttle bus is an all-weather concept that can be shared among the community. This paralleled MUJI's philosophy and thus the collaboration with Sensible 4 started in 2017.
The design is made in consideration of the users. The highlights of the design are its shape, which is friendly and designed with no front or back, the LED light belt, which is made from the combination of the headlights and communication screen, and the seating that follows the soft rounded square shape of the bus. Finland has a perfect environment for the autonomous vehicle testing, because it is legally not required to have a driver on the vehicle running on public roads.
The prototype will be unveiled to the public in Helsinki, March 2019. After the unveiling, the Gacha shuttle bus will start its final phase of testing, operating a passenger service in three Finnish cities.
Gacha Autonomous Shuttle Bus
Details about the Gacha bus:
- 4.5 * 2.5 * 2.8m (L*W*H)
- 10 seats, 6 standing
- Max speed:
- 40km/h autonomous
- 4WD electric
- 100 + km with Fast charging. Wireless charging as an option
- March 2019 Proto-Type of Shuttle bus to be unveiled to the public (Finland, near Helsinki)
- 1st Half 2019 Start test driving in three Finish cities
Sensible 4 is an autonomous driving company. Their systems can be integrated to any autonomous vehicle type used as the platform, such as a shuttle bus. The systems work in all climates. Founders of Sensible 4 have decades of experience in the development of autonomous driving systems. They are seeking to become one of the global pioneers autonomous driving. Currently the operations are expanding to EU and Asia, and they have been testing in Finland in real life traffic conditions and driving over 5G network. Results are clear: it works anywhere!
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