Two years ago, in early 2022, Karsan’s e-Atak Autonomous landed on the northern European bus market, unraveling on the fjord roads in Norway. And as of spring 2022, public transport operator Kolumbus, in Stavanger, has the driverless bus (SAE level 4 of 5) on a short route with paying passengers in the city.

The bus performed well on this route and in December 2023 was deployed on a much more challenging route with lane changes in heavy traffic and driving at higher speeds and a tunnel to pass through.

The Bursa-based manufacturer’s Autonomous e-Atak is automated by flowride.ai Level-4 Automated Driving Software Platform from Adastec (also a Turkish company) and has been used for the first time in Europe on a city line to transport passengers in the city of Stavanger: it can travel without a driver on a planned route. Capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour in all weather conditions, night and day, the bus can autonomously perform tasks previously done by a human driver, such as pulling up at bus stops on the route, managing passengers getting on/off, navigating through traffic circles, main roads or traffic lights.

 Tore AB
Credit: Tore AB

Karsan Autonomous e-Atak: 300 km range, Level-4 soft-ware

Level-4 autonomous software developed by Adastec has been integrated into the electrical-electronic architecture and software of the driverless battery vehicle, powered by 220 kWh batteries developed by BMW that reach 230 kW of powerVoasting a range of 300 km, the 8.3-meter-long Autonomous e-Atak can carry 52 passengers. Autonomous e-Atak can be charged in 5 hours with AC charging units and in 3 hours with DC units.

The Autonomous e-Atak, which has driver assistance systems that go beyond ADAS functions, has advanced LiDAR sensors. These sensors work effectively at even the most critical angles for distances up to 120 meters by emitting laser beams, enabling three-dimensional detection of surrounding objects with centimeter accuracy. In addition, radio waves emitted by the front radar identify moving objects up to 160 meters in all weather conditions. Autonomous driving technology can easily navigate through roads and analyze traffic in addition to having situational awareness.

Extra safety for pedestrians

Karsan’s Autonomous e-Atak, which can both measure the distance of objects and identify them by processing high-resolution images with six RGB cameras mounted on different parts of the vehicle, easily distinguishes between vehicles, pedestrians or other objects. On the other hand, Autonomous e-Atak, thanks to its thermal cameras, can detect temperature changes of living things around the vehicle without being affected by light and weather conditions, thus providing additional safety for pedestrians and other living things. Autonomous e-Atak has high-resolution maps that transmit highly accurate location information, GNSS, accelerometers, and even LiDAR sensors, allowing the vehicle’s location to be determined accurately and safely.

«As a public transport authority (PTA) it is important for us to be a part of this groundbreaking project. We believe that self-driving buses will be an important part of the future public transportation system. It will reduce costs, increase traffic safety and be an answer to the lack of bus drivers which already is a huge issue. We are thrilled to cooperate with professional, innovative, and world-leading companies in this process», says Edith Nøkling, CEO of Kolumbus-the PTA in Rogaland County, Norway”.

«We’re thrilled to introduce our new route in Stavanger, and I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Vy and Kolumbus for their confidence in our vision. At Adastec, we’re not just about advancing technology; we’re about ensuring that every journey is safe, dependable, and accessible. Our partnership with Karsan has enabled us to integrate our advanced SAE Level-4 Automated Driving Software directly into top-tier electric buses in the production line, setting new benchmarks for public transport. As we lead the European market in this industry, we’re here to redefine urban mobility, making it a seamless, enjoyable part of daily life for the communities we’re proud to serve, all while continuing to be proud of our status as Europe’s first automated bus service», adds Chief Executive Officer, Adastec, Dr. Ali Peker  

«The launch of our new route in Stavanger reflects Adastec’s dedication to SAE Level-4 automation in public transportation. Our platform, flowride.ai, is the cornerstone of this progress, seamlessly navigating the complexities of urban routes, including the 800m tunnel while maintaining a safe speed of 40km/h. This achievement highlights the seamless integration of our technology with Vy and Kolumbus’s operational expertise, illustrating our joint commitment not just to evolve but to revolutionize the mobility landscape. We are proud to lead this charge, driving the development of automated buses that are integral to the infrastructure of intelligent, sustainable urban environments», says Adastec’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Kerem Par

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