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Pre-Commercial Procurement of Future autonomous bus urban level Operation Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FABULOS (Pre-Commercial Procurement of Future autonomous bus urban level Operation Systems)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2018-05-31

What is the problem/issue being addressed?
The FABULOS (Future Automated Bus Urban Level Operation Systems) project focuses on how cities can use automated buses in a systematic way.
Self-driving minibuses have been tested in technical demonstrations in various countries, but a proof-of-concept for the management of autonomous fleets as integrated part of the public transportation system is not yet available. The robotic bus technology is fast approaching its market readiness stage, but current transportation systems are not equipped to deal with such type of transportation. Furthermore, some parts of the driving automation need to reach a more mature stage in their development in order to be employable in normal urban settings, such as open roads. In other words, a demonstration of the economic, technical, societal and legal maturity of the solution is required. FABULOS takes all these elements into account, with a special focus on the technical and economic aspects. The project is applying a systematic approach - the all-inclusive solution we look for is not merely about the vehicle, but also on the fleet management capabilities, control room functions and integration in existing Public Transport.

Why is it important for society?
This challenge is put forward because the Buyers Group believes that this kind of intelligent transportation system and integrated transportation approach is key part of the future of urban mobility. The solution the Procuring Partners seek is important in facilitating the sustainable development of public transportation and for cities to be able to significantly reduce emissions, have a well-balanced mobility system based on the concept of co-modality, and foster the general longer-term goal of sustainable and liveable cities.

What are the overall objectives?
The goal of FABULOS is to use the pre-commercial procurement tool to collectively purchase R&D for the prototyping and testing of smart systems that are capable of operating a fleet of self-driving minibuses in urban environments. The solution must be able to provide efficient and environmentally friendly last-mile transport and stimulate co-modality. The joint effort of the procuring partners lies in making sure that the offered solutions will be a realistic and commercially attractive alternative to traditional urban public transportation.
In anticipation of the launch of the Request for Tenders on 1.9.2018 the project has focused on the following work in the first five months of the project:

WP1: Project Coordination and PCP process management: Consortium Agreement & Joint Procurement Agreement ( D1.2) were signed. Two consortium Meetings took place. A major task was building up and maintaining the relationship with relevant external partners such as other (European) actions/projects, cities and other procuring authorities. Preparing and implementing the Open Market Consultation, during which the FABULOS consortium researched the market, informed potential suppliers, contacted topic experts and met with a large range of people to promote the project, both physically and digitally. The aim was to inform internal and external stakeholders about the scope, objectives, requirements and constraints of the FABULOS project, as well as on the procurement strategy and procedures. OMC results Report D1.4 was finalised. In WP1, also PCP planning took place, as well as definition of the Challenge and Functional/Technical Requirements. All documentation for the Request for Tenders was made into a near-final version (D1.6).

WP4: Prototype Field Testing (PCP Phase 3): The main goal of the work in this WP was to start preparations for stable field testing environments, based on a common approach which can match each of the Prototypes (to be selected at the end of Phase 2) with a Procuring Partner city. A Field Testing Planning Survey was made to support Partners in pilot site selection and pilot route planning. Field testing route options A and B were designed locally in all Procuring Partner cities, involving local authorities and stakeholders. Visual route representations were drawn up. In addition, a Pilot Preparation Process Survey was made to support Procuring Partners in the process of obtaining field testing exemptions and preparing for the pilot together with all local stakeholders. Information and best practice exchange between all partners took place.

WP6: Dissemination and Networking: Work performed in this reporting period consisted of preparing and implementing a Communication Plan, including detailed plans for each phase of the FABULOS PCP on local level in partnering countries. Creation of a brand identity and visual guidelines. Production of communication materials to support the Open Market Consultation events, such as roll-ups, posters and graphics. Creation of the website over 4000 visitors so far. The website gives information on the project, the PCP process, the upcoming events and serves as a portal for the event registrations, surveys as well as for additional information regarding the upcoming Request for Tender (for example, Q&A’s section and Matchmaker Tool). Promotion of the project: Press release in 6 languages. Participation in e.g. TRA2018 in Vienna, Nordic IOT Week in Helsinki and European Robotics Forum in Tampere, to present the project or participate in panel discussions.
The procurement target is the operation of the autonomous bus line. The procurement of a solution (service-type procurement) instead of software (product-type procurement) is needed to create an analogous model with how the public transport authorities are currently procuring the (non-autonomous) bus lines. This does not exist yet anywhere. It is expected to be similar model to the future procurements of commercial autonomous bus lines operations. This means for example that in future the cities can procure traditional bus line operations for some districts and zones as before, but after the project, in addition also will be able to procure bus transport service in zones or lines that would be managed with autonomous minibuses instead. The solution should not compete with walking and cycling. For cities, the autonomous minibuses are expected to lead to substantial cost savings and service level improvements, and new ability to tackle some otherwise too expensive urban transport needs. The driver is nearly always the most expensive component of the road-based public transport services.

Progress beyond the State of the Art:
- A “one-stop-shop” or “off-the-shelf” solution for Cities, Public Transport Authorities or other entities procuring public transport services for the future;
- A system that can drive in regular speeds, without an operator or steward on board, in mixed traffic in cities, while dealing with unexpected obstacles and all weather conditions;
- A solution that will make last-mile PT more flexible, clean and efficient.
- A solution that will stimulate co-modality, including the real-time information of the location of trunk lines (rail, other buses, trams, metro) in order to provide seamless modality changes;
- A solution that can easily be fully integrated into any public transportation ecosystem.
- A solution that is easily scalable.
FABULOS cover photo (e.g. social media, press)
FABULOS primary logo
FABULOS secondary logo