Bolt kicks off self-driving technology research in partnership with the University of Tartu

Bolt, the leading European on-demand transportation platform, is partnering with the University of Tartu for an applied research project on the development of self-driving technology for a Level 4 autonomous car. The project will contribute to Bolt’s vision of making moving around cities easier, quicker and more reliable.

The research sets a goal for integrating autonomous vehicles (AVs) on Bolt’s transportation platform by 2026. In the short-term, Bolt will collaborate with the University of Tartu to run AV pilots in suitable urban areas.

While Bolt has previously held machine-learning contests, challenging participants to model an autonomous fleet using the platform’s data, the partnership steps up Bolt’s commitment in exploring ways how autonomous fleets can in 5-10 years start augmenting or replacing human drivers on some routes.

The research partnership between Bolt and the University of Tartu (UT) is aimed at achieving Level 4 autonomy, which is defined as not requiring human intervention in most of the situations, apart from driving in uncharted areas or extreme weather conditions.

Jevgeni Kabanov, Chief Product Officer, Bolt said: “We’re already helping millions of people move around their cities easier and faster. With the growing demand for ride-hailing services, autonomous vehicle technology will provide a solution for transportation problems on an increasingly broader scale.

Rather than developing our own vehicle, the goal of this project is to build our self-driving technology with a focus on software and maps, on top of existing platforms and open-source software. This approach allows us to leverage our team’s expertise in deep learning, maps and optimization.”

Anne Jääger, Head of Industry Collaboration at UT Institute of Computer Science, said: “Collaboration with Bolt gives us a great opportunity to do applied research in autonomous driving technologies through practical lab experiments in real traffic environment in various research directions. Our scientists will support Bolt in developing self-driving vehicle-based services and by involving students in lab experiments we’ll prepare them for future careers in the field of autonomous technologies."

The partnership agreement between Bolt and the University of Tartu was signed in the spring of 2019. Vehicles equipped with self-driving technology are expected to start first road tests in early 2020.

Bolt is the leading European on-demand transportation platform that’s focused on making urban travel easier, quicker and more reliable. Founded by Markus Villig, Bolt launched in 2013. It’s one of the fastest-growing transportation platforms in Europe and Africa with investors including Daimler, Didi Chuxing, Korelya Capital and TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. Bolt has more than 25 million users in over 30 countries globally.

Additional information: Karin Kase, Bolt PR manager, +372 524 4233,

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