Tallinn, EE is piloting AVs
Estonia’s capital is the birthplace of the conveyor, a novel type of automated vehicle that many believe could transform how goods are delivered in future cities. Conveyors made by a growing array of startups now come in an increasing variety of flavors, but all share key characteristics: they are small enough to travel in pedestrian areas without risk to human safety, have limited range, and carry less than 50 pounds of cargo. In Tallinn, conveyor R&D was spearheaded by Starship Technologies, started in 2014 by two Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis.
Starship’s first public trials took place in 2016 in Tallinn, with startup food delivery partner Wolt, logging more than 1,000 km of test travel in the first year. In July 2017, Starship took another leap forward, carrying out a summer-long test involving small packs of conveyors ferried from distribution hubs to neighborhood dispatch points by a mothership, dubbed the Robovan. The pilot, in partnership with Omniva (an arm of the Estonian postal service), and Mercedes-Benz, will focus on Tallinn’s Kakumae, and seeks to develop new solutions for last-mile delivery logistics.
Although Starship has have since expanded their offices to London, Hamburg and the USA, Tallinn is still their engineering headquarters.
2017-11-13: Following the successful temporary deployment of two driverless shuttles during tram reconstruction in the summer of 2017, Tallinn will begin a year long test of a driverless shuttle in city traffic in 2018. Link