On Tuesday (27th of June), 3 autonomous cars started operating on the streets of Vilnius, making it the first city in Europe to deploy autonomous cars in real traffic conditions.
Many residents of Vilnius have already seen this innovative car, which underwent three months of testing to assess its ability to safely participate in traffic. The test results demonstrated that autonomous cars can move in complete safety, even in the city centre.
Vaida Budrienė, spokeswoman for Iki, told BNS that the two months will represent the second phase of testing, where the autonomous vehicles will be trialled in heavy traffic conditions. “Now we are the first city in Europe to test autonomous cars on busiest streets and in real-life traffic for two months. […] This is a much bigger stage and if all goes well, this is our future,” said Budrienė.
Lithuania has had a legal framework for autonomous cars in place since 2018, providing all the necessary conditions for autonomous transport to operate on the country’s streets. The cars were developed by Clevon and have the capability to travel at 50 km/h on city streets. However, in Vilnius, their speed will be limited to 25 km/h to ensure maximum safety.
The planned route for these cars is from the IKI shopping centre on Mindaugas Street, passing through the streets of Senamiestis (Old Town) and Naujamiestis (New Town). It is reported that 3 of these cars will operate in the city for the time being, and there are no plans for expansion at this stage.