The time has come to start preparations for the test with the self-propelled minibus of the European project FABULOS in Helmond. In the coming weeks the shuttle and the route will be made ready for driving and test drives will be made. If the minibus passes the final exam and the RDW and municipality give the green light, the test with the self-propelled minibus will start mid-January. With passengers, in accordance with corona guidelines and between traffic. Without a driver, but with a safety steward who is constantly watching and can intervene if necessary. "The road is still long, but this is a big step towards a sustainable and traffic-safe future," says alderman Antoinette Maas.
The self-propelled minibus will drive between Brandevoort station and the Automotive Campus. The route crosses Brainport Smart District, the smartest district of the future. The three-kilometer long route includes four stops. These are Brandevoort station, Berenbroek and two stops on the Automotive Campus. The self-propelled minibus will run at a maximum speed of 18 kilometers per hour during this test phase. This is approximately an average cycling speed. There are sensors on the minibus that allow it to detect movements from a distance and take action itself. For safety reasons, various temporary traffic measures will be taken, such as a maximum speed of 30 kilometers per hour for all traffic on the route. The shuttle does not deviate from the lane on which it is programmed, it also drives more carefully than an average road user and can still brake unexpectedly. So on the test route other road users are warned by information boards.
Makers of the future
As part of the Brainport Eindhoven region, Helmond is a forerunner in Europe in the field of smart mobility. Together with the business community, governments, education and knowledge institutes, new technology is developed and applied in Helmond, on the streets and on the Automotive Campus. This is not the only reason why the Municipality of Helmond is taking part in the trial. "The city is growing, so transport is also increasing," says alderman Antoinette Maas. "We want to be a traffic safe, accessible, green and clean city with sustainable forms of transport for everyone. Helmond is a bicycle city with no less than four train stations, but bus transport is under pressure. Self-propelled transport could be a solution for this in the future. That is why we, together with Europe, the Brainport Eindhoven region and the South Netherlands SmartwayZ.NL program, are investing in smart mobility solutions such as partial mobility and self-propelled transport".
The European Commission, Region Deal Brainport Eindhoven and the Municipality of Helmond make the trial financially possible. The pilot is part of the European project FABULOS that is being carried out in Norway, Finland, Greece, Estonia and the Netherlands to develop and test these new, sustainable forms of transport. The pilot in Helmond will be carried out by the international consortium SAGA from Norway and Finland. The Future Mobility Network is the Dutch company that organizes the local commissioning of the vehicle of the French manufacturer Navya. RDW assesses the roadworthiness of the minibus. Numerous national organizations are also involved: Brainport Smart District, Automotive Campus Helmond, Fire Brigade Brabant-Zuidoost, police, research center TNO, Fontys Universities of Applied Sciences, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Province of Noord-Brabant, SmartwayZ.NL, Hermes, Aon and Hanenberg Wegenbouw.
At the beginning of the trial, only students and employees of the Automotive Campus and companies took part in the itinerary because of Corona. Would you like to experience a ride? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and stay informed. For more information about the self-propelled minibus, visit www.helmond.nl/fabulos and www.fabulos.eu.
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