After successfully completing a series of field tests, Estonian Road Administration authorities have given the go-ahead for the world's first autonomous hydrogen-powered vehicle to drive on the European country's roads starting July 5, local media report.
Known as Iseauto, the vehicle was developed by local autonomous car manufacturer Auve Tech, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Tartu, one of the country's leading universities, and is designed to travel short distances carrying up to six passengers.
At 3.5 meters long, 1.5 meters wide and 2.4 meters high, the minibus is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour. Its engine is powered by a low-temperature hydrogen fuel battery, which has an average charge life of eight hours.
In addition, the technology with which the vehicle has been equipped allows it to navigate autonomously; however, it can also be controlled by an operator remotely from a control center.
"The hydrogen created by the fuel cells functions as the energy source in the vehicle and the only by-products are vaporized water and heat. Fast charging allows a greater number of hours of vehicle operation, increasing efficiency and introducing a way to integrate autonomous transport into our daily lives," noted the Estonian firm's CEO.