A robot bus that is not afraid of snow

Something ground-breaking is happening in Otaniemi, Espoo. Harri Santamala, Jari Saarinen, Jussi Suomela and Tommi Rimpiläinen have founded Sensible 4 Oy, a company that aims to become the leader in automated vehicles with its automation-in-a-box solution.

“We believe that we’ll be a global pioneer in this field. Our knowledge of the technology comes from studies at Aalto University and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. We are building this project through collaboration with other Finnish organisations, Aalto University in particular, as that’s where the new talent is growing. Generally speaking, Otaniemi is a great place to recruit specialists of the future, and the area supports entrepreneurial activities. The atmosphere is really good and supportive of new technologies,” says Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4.

The quartet is planning to beat the competitors with their promise that their automated system will keep going whatever the weather: the vehicles will move through slush and snow, and even fallen leaves.

Invaluable knowledge about self-driving robot busses was gathered during SOHJOA project, which is part of the collaborative 6Aika project by six of Finland’s biggest cities. The autonomous mini-busses operated in Helsinki, Espoo and Tampere.

“We learned a lot about the biggest challenges that need to be solved before commercial applications that use automated vehicles can become viable. Now we also know the automation-related elements that need to be taken into account in road traffic. The biggest problems are the winter and other road-users as they form a changing environment from the automation point of view,” explains Santamala, who took part in the SOHJOA project.

The automated bus is moving but you can still hop on!