Self-driving car: Cooperation project between Traffest, the University of Tartu and Bolt


An project is taking place in the city of Tartu, concerning the capability of the self-driving car of the University of Tartu and Bolt. After successfully passing the Road Administration’s driving test, it is evaluated on how it copes in regular urban traffic. Traffest was included in the project, as they manage the traffic lights in the city of Tartu and the self-driving car needs assistance in determining if the traffic light ahead is displaying red, yellow or green, at any given time.

A self-driving car might not recognise the different traffic light signals, with the same efficiency of a human. The field of vision of the car’s system could be disturbed by a bad camera angle or the sun shining on the lens, for example. With the assistance of Traffest, and through the Internet, the driving system of the car asks the traffic light itself, what colour light is currently being displayed. So far, this has been a more reliable system, thanks to the high speed internet connection, that allows for rapid transmission of information. The self-driving car’s camera will detect the colour of the light if, for some reason, the online request of the traffic light signal is unsuccessful.

The University of Tartu has been working with the company Bolt on the project entitled: “Development of a laboratory for self-driving vehicles for applied research of the 4th level autonomy technology”. The aim of the project is to create a development platform for the applied research into autonomous driving technology. The level of the current technology is assessed and the readiness for taking it into the future, and its use in self-driving cars in Estonia’s traffic, is evaluated. At the same time, the given technology is continuously being developed.

As a next step, the development team of the self-driving car wants to do a test drive in Tallinn. In addition, the plan is to improve the car’s prediction function so that it is capable of giving way to other vehicles, in simple situations, without the assistance of a security driver.