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Ericsson is partnering with leading Swedish and international companies to test a 5G-enabled self-driving electric minibus in the heart of Stockholm. The 5G Ride initiative minibus will operate along a short route on the island of Djurgården – 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.

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.

Jenny Lindqvist, Head of Customer Unit Northern and Central Europe, Ericsson, 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.”

Anders Olsson, CEO, Telia Sweden, adds: “This project is a great example of how 5G can benefit society. Self-driving technology combined with electrification and 5G can help transform public transport, making it more efficient to operate and more accessible to the people who need it, while reducing its environmental footprint. Key components in building smarter cities.”

The 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 technology company, T-Engineering.

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