Winter holidays in Tallinn´s Old Town
Autonomous solutions in the heart of Tallinn
Our mission is to spread knowledge and the importance of autonomus vehicles that will help us to create a better world where emission footprint is a thing of the past. The idea of sharing electric transportation is getting more and more recognition all over the world including in Estonia.
Auve Tech has used the streets of Tallinn for its operations since 2020. During the winter holidays, Iseauto was presented to the visitors of the Old Town, bringing the passengers excitement and being part of many memories related to the holiday season.
Usually, the case studies take place at the events where the special lanes are provided in order to protect pedestrians, drivers, and buildings, however Auve Tech and our team got the permission to operate on one of the busiest pedestrian streets. It connects Viru Gate, which is one of the main entrances to the Old Town, and Christmas Market. Pedestrians were our main target audience because our shuttle is the perfect solution for the last-mile transportation so their opinion and behavior help us to understand what we should improve and what reactions we may expect after the changes.
We did not make any announcements regarding the services we were providing, the reason behind it being COVID, and the possible publicity around the case studies could have led to excessive demand and the disappointment of the pedestrians who would not have been able to ride the bus, in accordance with the COVID restrictions.
The operators had to keep the speed as low as possible which was 5 km/h and the highest was 7km/h. The route included a slight turn and maneuvering was not affected by that.
The bus operated on working days from 13 pm to 16 pm for two weeks and the last operating day was on the 31st of December.
The complexity of the environment
There were 2 bus stops for a 500-meter lane where passengers could take the ride and enjoy beautiful architectural decisions without walking in the snow and the wind.
The first stop was next to the restaurant Olde Hansa nearby many cafés and the second was near Viru Gate which is the entrance to Vanalinn. The route was noticeable due to temporary signs informing interested parties where the bus stops are. During the holidays Tallinn welcomed a lot of tourists who had come to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere and were surprised by an autonomous shuttle on the streets of the city center.
The weather conditions
As mentioned above, the operations were held during the winter holidays. Winter in Estonia is severe and the climate is considered extreme for the shuttles yet we managed to operate Iseauto on the snowy days and make the commute more interesting in the streets of Tallinn.
Taking into consideration weather conditions it was stated that LiDARS from Hesai Technology did a suitable job at indicating the obstacles on the shuttle’s way making it safe and the passengers felt secure inside the shuttle.
Every experience offers an opportunity to learn as was the case in the Old Town. Our team was familiar with operating in the open areas before the case study in Old Town, but it was the first time operating in the open space in snow. Not only visibility and the sensors were affected but also the entire system, but thanks to thorough preparation the operation ran smoothly.
Operating in the cobble-stone streets full of locals and visitors who may not be familiar with the safety rules was a new experience. Many pedestrians were affected by the atmosphere and curiosity and tried to stop the vehicle in motion, creating dangerous situations that were successfully avoided. We adapted to the environment and learned to foresee possible disruptions. We believe our company and potential users of the autonomous services will improve cooperatively.