IRIZAR DEBUTS AUTONOMOUS BUS IN EURO PILOT

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Irizar Europe


AFTER THREE years' work, the Spanish Irizar Group presented its first autonomous bus to Malaga City Council for use by operator Avanza, it’s reported recently.

IRIZAR DEBUTS AUTONOMOUS BUS IN EURO PILOT
The Group is currently engaged in different projects that serve to define the lines of the future of mobility and other business areas, Irizar explains.

As one of the company’s pioneering projects in e-mobility, the autonomous Irizar ie bus model – a fully zero-emissions electric vehicle with dual driving mode, manual mode and automatic mode (autopilot) – is 12 metres long and has capacity for 60 passengers, the company confirms.

According to the company, its first autonomous bus is the result of the AutoMost Project, funded by the Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) of the Ministry of Economy of Spain. This ministry aims to develop technologies for the automation of vehicles in urban and industrial transport applications, in order to make significant increases in efficiency, safety and sustainability, it states.

Avanza participates as an operator with 11 partners, including the Irizar Group through Irizar e-mobility and Datik. The project also has the participation of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Insia, CEIT-IK4 and the University of Vigo, it explains.

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IN REAL TIME

Malaga, Spain – on of the oldest cities in Europe laying the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean, roughly 100 kilometres east of the Strait of Gibraltar - will therefore become the first city in Europe to have an autonomous bus moving through its streets, says Irizar. It will do so from the port to the city centre and, in principle, will transfer cruise passengers arriving in the capital of Malaga, Irizar explains.

The bus will use a high-precision positioning and guidance system and will be connected to a control centre from which specific instructions can be sent to each unit and the buses can be monitored and their itineraries accessed in real time, it states.

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Hector Olabegogeaskoetxea, managing director of Irizar e-mobility, said: "We believe that this bus is ready to begin the pilot test in real operating conditions on a public highway, in a real traffic situation in the city of Malaga."

"This is the first test of this type with a bus of this size in Spain.

"These tests will undoubtedly provide data and experience in daily practical operation, which will contribute to progress in this great challenge for the future of the Irizar Group," he added.

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THE SIGNIFICANCE

Irizar raises that the point behind the AutoMost pilot test is it puts a standard-size vehicle into circulation in a real traffic situation in a city and not in a reserved space or in a restricted area.

The main challenges for the future of the Irizar Group Creatio - the Group's Research and Development Centre - is the hub of the Group's enormous technological capability, which: "…brings together the synergies of the Group’s companies and addresses all the aspects involved in the design and implementation of products and systems, facing the most unique challenges, increasingly complex customer demands, and sustainability."

The Group is currently engaged in different projects that serve to define the lines of the future of mobility and other business areas, Irizar explains.

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GREEN ENERGY FACTORY

The test comes at a time when Irizar e-mobility becomes the first ‘green energy’ electro-mobility factory in Europe by opening and commissioning the largest photovoltaic solar farm in the Basque Country, it says.

The park was opened in the presence of Lehendakari, President of the Basque Government; Iñigo Urkullu and a delegation of the Basque Government, together with the Basque Energy Agency and the partners of the Ekain solar farm, in which the Irizar Group is one of the largest investors with the acquisition of 3 MW.

The energy generated in this farm will supply the Irizar e-mobility facilities, making it the first factory for the production of electric buses with zero emissions clean energy in Europe, it says.

The Irizar Group is fully committed to the environment and, since it obtained ISO 14001 in 1998, has been actively taking steps in energy transformation, it states.

In 2016, the company won the National Environment Award in the product-service category in Spain. Irizar e-mobility was inaugurated in 2018.

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ABOUT EKIAN

Ekian is a public-private initiative promoted by the Basque Energy Agency and KREAN and has 22 investor companies, says Irizar. The Ekian photovoltaic solar farm is located on a 55-hectare industrial estate called ‘La Lágrima’ on the Arasur Industrial Estate, in the municipality of Ribera Baja-Erribera Beitia, Araba.

It consists of 66,000 latest generation solar panels, 355 watts each, generating total installed capacity of 24MW, thus doubling the current solar power of the Basque Country, Irizar explains.

At full capacity, it will produce approximately 40,000 MW/h per year - i.e. electricity equivalent to the electrical consumption of 15,000 families in one year - and will prevent the emission of about 14,600 tons of CO2 if that energy were produced by other fossil-based energy sources, Irizar claims.

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