First driverless bus could be on road to Denmark

Driverless buses are a little closer to becoming a part of Danish traffic.

First driverless bus could be on road to Denmark
An experimental driverless bus in Paris. Photo: Zacharie Scheurer/AP/Ritzau

Denmark’s Transport Authority (Trafikstyrelsen) has approved an assessment of an initial trial of driverless buses run by operator Autonomous Mobility.

“The law requires a third party to approve the safety of the trial. Before that, the assessor must be approved by the Transport Authority. That is where we are at now,” said Autonomous Mobility director Peter Sorgenfrei.

Although relatively little has so far been revealed about the trial, the company is known to be looking into a partnership with the Technical University of Denmark, reports Ritzau.

The approval of an assessor is the first step on the way to authorities giving the green light for the driverless buses.

Autonomous Mobility is, though, yet to send an application to operate the buses to the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet).

“Current status is that we are still yet to receive the first official application. We know that several applications are coming, and expect to receive an application within the near future,” Danish Road Directorate department leader Andreas Egense said.

Several authorities, including the Transport Authority, National Police (Rigspolitiet) and State Prosecution Service (Rigsadvokaten) would be consulted in the assessment of an application to send driver-free buses on to Danish streets.

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Denmark signals billion-kroner spending on new electric trains

Danish state-owned rail operator DSB is to purchase 100 electric trains at a cost of around 20 billion kroner, including maintenance costs.

Denmark signals billion-kroner spending on new electric trains
File photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

French company Alstom has won the contract to supply the trains to Denmark, DSB and transport minister Benny Engelbrecht said at a briefing on Monday.

The contract includes the option to purchase over the initial agreement for 100 trains. DSB said it expected to eventually receive 150 locomotives.

The electric trains are expected to begin operating on Denmark’s railways from 2024.

The deal comes as a result of a 2018 political which secured the replacement of the older IC4 trains, which have been the cause of a number of technical challenges during their time in service for DSB.

Ole Birk Olesen, the former transport minister who was in the post when the 2018 deal was agreed, said he does not expect such challenges with the new trains.

“Two things will make sure we avoid problems. The people who are supplying the trains are also responsible for maintenance,” Olesen said.

“That bill will not end up in the hands of Danish taxpayers. The other thing is that these are trains which already run in Europe and which have proved to be stable,” he added.

DSB has confirmed that two new maintenance centres will be built for servicing and repairing the new trains. The two workshops will be located in Copenhagen and Aarhus.

Engelbrecht noted at the briefing that the trains, which are of the type Coradia Stream, accelerate faster and have a higher top speed than the IC4 machines.

The top speed of the Coradia Stream is 200 kilometres per hour.

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