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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 20.05.2019, 01:52

Tallinn Tech and Silberauto present self-driving car

BC, Tallinn, 10.08.2018.Print version
Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian car selling and maintenance company Silberauto presented Iseauto, the first self-driving car made in Estonia, at the Opinion Festival in the central Estonian town of Paide on Friday, reportes LETA/BNS.

The car is expected to be completed in time for the centennial of Tallinn Tech.

Iseauto is a fully autonomous, self-driving vehicle that can accommodate up to six passengers. The body of the car was developed and built by Silberauto while the technical solutions -- electronics, sensors and control software -- are the result of the work of robotics and engineering scientists at Tallinn Tech in collaboration with students.

Raivo Sell, project manager for Iseauto and head of the research group for self-driving vehicles at Tallinn Tech, described the Iseauto project as an important milestone for the university and the company alike.

"Within a short period of time, we have solved complex technical problems in collaboration between the company and the university and obtained very valuable experiences in self-driving vehicle technologies and their application.

Speaking in a panel discussion, Sell said that the development of Iseauto was a success because the share of open source software has been increasing in recent years.

"Even the majors Baidu and Tesla have made patents public. That we can use ready-made components and things are developing is making it possible," he said.

The team is using on the car's prototype software developed by Japan's Nagoya University, which needs to be amended and adjusted depending on situation. Sell said that they have also engaged in cooperation with Mitsubishi, which has a manufacturing unit in Nagoya but was not cooperating with the university there. He said that cooperation between universities and businesses is significantly more common in Estonia and that at one point Tallinn Tech served as a connecting link between the Japanese carmaker and the university.

"The natural next phase of the project is further developing the prototype, creation of smart urban space at the Tallinn Tech campus and developing a testing environment for self-driving vehicles at Tallinn Tech," Sell said.

He said that as the next thing they will start developing communication between vehicles and optimizing trajectories and speeds.

"Manufacturing a vehicle is not something that we have set directly as a goal, we rather wish to build a testing environment where we can test how different vehicles, and also Starship robots, interact among themselves, how to control them via the cloud and how they interact with infrastructure objects," Sell said.

In the future the car will be operating at the Tallinn Tech campus in the city district of Mustamae, where 72 different buildings lie on 50 hectares of land, representing a model of real urban space. At the university campus a smart city test solution will be laid out complete with an automated charging station, turnpikes, lighting, and an open source service platform.

A unique feature of Iseauto is that its body was built at Silberauto from scratch. Similar projects developed by other universities have built on an existing vehicle model. The Finns, for instance, based their vehicle on a Citroen car and the Dutch on the same self-driving bus that could be seen carrying passengers in Tallinn during the EU presidency last year, Sell said.

Participants in the discussion at the Opinion Festival found that Estonia should serve as a testing ground for major carmakers for the testing of self-driving vehicles. Similar to Estonia, there are laws favorable of testing self-driving vehicles also in Finland and Lithuania, for instance.

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