Ericsson is partnering with leading Swedish and international companies to test a 5G-enabled self-driving electric minibus in the heart of Stockholm. From September 24, the 5G Ride initiative minibus will operate along a short route on the island of Djurgarden – home to many of Stockholm’s best-known attractions and sites – for approximately two weeks. Members of the public are allowed to ride in the minibus in accordance with strict COVID-19-related regulations, including social distancing measures.

As part of their ongoing strategic 5G partnership to boost digitalization across multiple industries and uses cases in the Nordics, Ericsson and Nordic Communications Service Provider Telia Company (Telia) have deployed 5G sites along the trial route. The network is powered by commercial Ericsson Radio System products and solutions. Ericsson is also providing the technical solution for the related control tower. Telia also launched an Ericsson-powered 5G in central Stockholm on 700Mhz band earlier this year. The high-speed data transfer, low latency and reliability of 5G enables the connected minibus to respond in real-time to commands from the control tower. The initial tests are expected to be followed by further trials in 2021. The aim is to pave the way towards making 5G-enabled electric driverless public transport services a reality.

The current pilot initiative is part of a partnership between Urban ICT Arena, Keolis, Telia, Ericsson and Intel, focusing on how 5G and related control towers can enable more sustainable and efficient public transport systems. The initiative is backed by Vinnova and Drive Sweden, while the minibus is provided by a technology company, T-Engineering.

The launch of the 5G-enabled self-driving electric minibus was attended by Prince Daniel of the Swedish Royal Family, Jenny Lindqvist, Head of Customer Unit Northern and Central Europe at Ericsson and Allison Kirkby, President and CEO, Telia Company.

Lindqvist says: “We are proud to be part of this exciting journey, quite literally. From the passengers’ experience to road safety and environmental impact, the potential 5G offers to society is ever-growing. Ericsson’s control tower solution, with the efficiency and reliability of 5G, manages self-driving buses in a smart way, transforming transport as we know it. In partnership with Telia, we are enabling 5G as the fundamental platform for innovation, making sustainable transport a reality in Stockholm.”