The Danish Minister for Transport has approved trials with self-driving shuttles at DTU Lyngby Campus. This means that students and staff can hop on the shuttle in April.
The project team behind the self-driving LINC shuttles that will be in service at DTU’s Lyngby Campus has just received a long-awaited approval from the Danish Road Directorate. To prepare the campus for the three shuttles, the project team has been working for some time on readying the infrastructure along their future route.
“As there are not many fixed points and recognizable features along the part of the route the shuttles will take, we’ve erected signs used for position fixing on Asmussens Allé, which will help the shuttles to store the route in their memory and enable them to find their way. In addition, we are in the process of erecting signs for the six shuttle stops, and we have coordinated the route and test period for all three shuttles so it doesn’t clash with the roadworks related to the renovation of DTU,” says Head of Operations at DTU Campus Anders B. Møller.
Corona is a challenge to scientists’ studies
Due to corona, it has been quiet on campus, which has made it easier to make the necessary infrastructural changes. However, the calm surroundings have produced other challenges for the LINC project, given that the project’s researchers are supposed examine the behaviour of test passengers in and around the shuttle.
“The self-driving shuttles driving at DTU will also be used by the researchers to study how passengers react to the shuttles. The studies are, of course, challenged by the fact that most students are currently taught virtually. That’s also why we are currently in particular reaching out to students and staff who are still on campus from time to time in order to recruit test passengers. Over time, we may hope that the restrictions will ease up and thus provide us with more test passengers for our LINC shuttles,” says Kenneth Jørgensen, project manager for LINC in the partnership organization Gate 21, and continues:
“Since some of the researchers’ studies look at passengers’ preferences regarding transport—even before the test—it’s important that test passengers already sign up now.”
The corona restrictions that apply to public transport will also apply to the self-driving shuttles when they hit the tarmac at DTU Lyngby Campus in April. This means that passengers must wear face masks and that a limited number of people are allowed on board the shuttle in accordance with the distance requirements.
The transport company Nobina, which will be in charge of the operation of the self-driving shuttles, has prepared the application for the Danish Road Directorate. They are pleased about the approval:
“It’s great that the approval has now been granted, and that we can now make the very last preparations before we invite passengers on board the self-driving shuttles. This includes mapping the route that the three shuttles will follow, so they can find the way on their own. When this is done, our external security advisor will approve the final test setup. This is the first time an Easymile shuttle will operate in Denmark, and we’re very excited about testing it with passengers on board in April,” says Rasmus Noes, Head of Market & Business Development in Nobina Denmark.