Self-driving vehicles

From pilot project to sustainable mobility.

Background information

Since 2019, Ruter has been trialing self-driving vehicles as an integrated part of the Oslo region's public transport services. Our ongoing pilot project is among the largest and most ambitious in its category, continuously yielding valuable knowledge that will help us provide even better mobility services for our customers in the future.

Ni røde selvkjørende biler står parkert i vintervær.
The fleet of self-driving vehicles that have been used in Ruter's pilots.

Trials from 2019 until today



Bus route 35: Vippetangen – Kontraskjæret

The first self-driving bus route integrated into Ruter's transport network

The purpose of our very first autonomous vehicle trial was to start exploring the integration of self-driving vehicles into a larger public transport service. An exclusively autonomous shuttle service, route 35 ran along the waterfront promenade of downtown Oslo, servicing an area of the inner city where there was previously no public transport available.

Our main goals with this first trial were to monitor how self-driving vehicles interact with other road users in a live traffic environment, observe how our customers and the general population would react to the new technology, and analyse the ways in which we will need to develop our organisation in order to manage larger fleets of self-driving vehicles in the future.

  • Open road with mixed traffic
  • Vehicles: Navya Arma
  • Route length: 1,2 km
  • SAE level: 3
  • Maximum vehicle speed: 18 km/h
  • Area speed limit: 30 km/h

SAE (the Society of Automotive Engineers) has defined five levels of vehicle autonomy. Our route 35 trial ran on level 3.

Kongens gate

Bus Route 35: Vippetangen – Christiania Torv

The first self-driving bus route to traverse a traffic light intersection in Oslo

An important aspect of Ruter's self-driving vehicle project is to explore how self-driving vehicles can and should interact with existing road infrastructure in the Oslo region.

We have much to learn about autonomous vehicle operation in complex traffic environments, such as traffic light intersections. We established route 35 from Vippetangen to Christiania Torv to study the communication between our autonomous shuttles and traffic lights in Oslo's inner-city streets. Our goal was to establish standardised solutions that could be transferred to other projects and adopted by other public transport operators. This way Ruter can ensure scalability to larger areas and fleets.

  • Open road with mixed traffic and traffic light intersections
  • Vehicles: Navya Arma
  • Route length: 1,4 km
  • SAE level: 3
  • Maximum vehicle speed: 18 km/h
  • Area speed limit: 30 km/h

SAE (the Society of Automotive Engineers) has defined five levels of vehicle autonomy. This trial runs on level 3.

Ormøya and Malmøya

Bus Route 85B: Nedre Bekkelaget – Malmøya

Self-driving vehicles as a means of reducing car traffic and improving daily mobility in a suburban neighbourhood

The purpose of the Nedre Bekkelaget project was to investigate how self-driving vehicles can improve day-to-day logistics in a suburban neighbourhood. By increasing the frequency of public transport using small self-driving vehicles, our goal was to reduce the need for private cars in the area.

A valuable self-driving transport service depends on high operational stability along the entire route at all hours every day. In this pilot we adjusted the route continuously, to explore requirements for reaching reliable and stable operations. Operational stability will be an important prerequisite ahead of initiating new, more complex self-driving bus routes in the years to come.

  • Open road with mixed traffic in suburban neighborhood
  • Vehicles: Navya Arma
  • Route length: 1,3 km
  • SAE level: 3
  • Maximum vehicle speed: 18 km/h
  • Area speed limit: 30 km/h

SAE (the Society of Automotive Engineers) has defined five levels of vehicle autonomy. This trial runs on level 3.


Route 529: Ski stasjon vest–Hebekk

New era for self-driving vehicles

The purpose of Ruter's self-driving project is to investigate how self-driving vehicles can be used to create a better public transport service in the capital region.

Through our first trials of self-driving buses in Oslo, we did acquire important knowledge and experience to build on. In the new phase of the self-driving project, the collaboration was expanded. Through an agreement obtained by the self-driving vehicle operator Holo, Toyota Motor Europe and the Finnish technology company Sensible 4 was incorporated into the project.

This agreement allowed for the use of Toyota vehicles equipped with Sensible 4's software. The collaboration made it possible for us to take the testing a step further, with vehicles and technology that were able to operate at higher driving speeds and better handle winter conditions.

Route 529 drove between Hebekk and Ski station.

The route drove between the residential area Hebekk and Ski station, with the aim of investigating the reducing effect such a service could have on private car use in the area. The pilot had the route number 529 and was operated with two vehicles, following a fixed route. The ambition was to transform the service into a flexible booking service - so the passengers could decide for themselves when and where they wanted to be picked up. Due to delayed deliveries this is a service we want to test in the next pilot.

The vehicles accommodated 4-6 passengers and one of them was equipped with a wheelchair ramp. The vehicles were automated, but they were both manned with a special trained safety driver.

  • SAE level: 3
  • Maximum vehicle speed: 30 km/h
  • Area speed limit: 30/40 km/h

SAE (the Society of Automotive Engineers) has defined five levels of vehicle autonomy. Our route 529 trial ran on level 3.

Why is Ruter doing this?

Ruter believes self-driving vehicles will play a vital part in the future of mobility. It is our intention to stay on top of technological developments in this area and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. That is why we have started trialing self-driving vehicles as an integrated part of the public transport services in Oslo.

Our pilot project has a threefold purpose:

  1. We want to introduce self-driving technology to our customers and the Oslo region's traffic environments, affording the general public their first experiences travelling aboard and alongside autonomous vehicles.
  2. We aim to explore the various roles self-driving vehicles can take on as part of a larger public transport system, and what kind of new mobility services they can enable.
  3. We intend to develop our own expertise in self-driving technology and prepare our partners, owners and national authorities for the emergence of autonomous transport solutions.

How will we do this?

Research and development collaboration with Holo

Ruter has entered into a research and development collaboration with Danish mobility operator Holo (formerly Autonomous Mobility AS) to test self-driving public transportation. Holo is Europe's leading operator of self-driving vehicles. Our pilot project is one of the most ambitious autonomous vehicle trials in the public transit sector anywhere in the world.

Holo is in charge of providing us with vehicles and self-driving technology, operating our autonomous vehicle routes and submitting our operation applications to the Directorate of Public Roads.

Cooperation with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) and the Municipality of Oslo's Agency for Urban Development (Bymiljøetaten).

Ruter's self-driving vehicle project is carried out in collaboration with Norwegian Public Roads Administration and Oslo municipality's Agency for City Environment, as part of a joint initiative titled "Smarter Transport in the Oslo Region" (STOR).

The aim of STOR is to take advantage of new technologies to make transportation in the Oslo region more efficient, more sustainable and more cost-effective.

Cooperation with TØI

Ruter's self-driving vehicle project is conducted in close cooperation with the Norwegian Centre for Transport Research (TØI) on several levels, including the Autobus project where TØI is studying customer behaviour and interaction in traffic from the standpoint of self-driving vehicles. Each of the separate autonomous vehicle routes are being studied by TØI in collaboration with AUTOPIA and Drive2TheFuture.

Sources of funding

  • Climate subsidies: Subsidies for testing emission-free, autonomous public transport, allocated by the Norwegian Environment Agency
  • Smarter Transport in Norway (STiN). The Ministry of Transport and Communication has allocated funds to the Municipality of Oslo and Ruter's area of responsibility in Viken County for a pilot project involving point-to-point operation of autonomous buses.
  • EU Horizon 2020 – AVENUE project: This grant is used to demonstrate autonomous solutions in urban areas. The Oslo tests are part of the AVENUE project being run through our R&D partner, Holo.
  • Research Council of Norway: Innovation projects for the public sector, with the purpose of testing self-driving passenger cars (AUTOPIA)
  • In cooperation with Holo, NPRA, Ruter's area of responsibility in Viken County and TØI.
  • Drive2theFuture: Drive2theFuture is a project that aims to prepare "drivers", travellers and vehicle operators of the future to accept and use connected, cooperative and automated transport modes. Testing in Oslo is part of Drive2TheFuture through our partner TØI.
  • Nordic Innovation (Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity - Round 2): Through the CONNECTING project, Holo, Sensible 4 and Ruter will develop, test and implement a new control tower function to be able to monitor and handle remote control of autonomous vehicles.

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