The Sohjoa Baltic project was launched with $4.75 million in funding provided by the European Union to Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Norway, Denmark, and Estonia. The project aims at paving the way toward shifting to autonomous and environmentally friendly public transportation. The strategic track of the shuttles alleviates congestion in certain regions, such as hospitals where fewer vehicles would circulate.
Estonia was one of the countries committed to implementing the project as soon as possible since it allows the operation of autonomous shuttles on its roads. The project was issued and approved during a session of the Estonian parliament in 2017. The government of Estonia cooperated with the French company Navya to design the shuttles alongside the Danish company Holo which supervised its operation. These shuttles had to undergo an evaluation by the Estonian Road Administration, which tests the safety and efficiency of the shuttles while circulating on the roads.
The eight-seater autonomous shuttles operate according to a predetermined track. Any citizen can currently use them for free. Students from Tallinn University of Technology control these shuttles after having received the proper training from Holo. Estonia's experience has proven its success since the number of daily users has reached 200. Other participating countries will also adopt the Estonian model which will further expand the project to the Balkans.