Mercedes-Benz Brings Self-Driving to Public Transit
Having succeeded in bringing the world’s first self-driving truck to public roads, luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz and its parent company Daimler can now claim another self-driving world first, this time with buses.
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot has driven autonomously for the first time on a 12-mile route in Amsterdam, stopping at bus stops with pinpoint accuracy, autonomously obeying traffic lights, hitting speeds of up to 43 mph, avoiding pedestrians, making turns, and negotiating tunnels.
Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Daimler Trucks & Buses: “With our Highway Pilot, we showed nearly two years ago that autonomous driving will make long-distance truck transport safer and more efficient. We are now putting this technology into our city buses with CityPilot.”
Although a driver was on board for the duration of the journey, the bus was capable of taking the strain due to the company’s CityPilot technology, which communicates with sensors and markings integrated into a specially prepared bus lane, which, Daimler claims is the fastest, simplest, and most cost effective way of adapting existing highway stretches for use by semi-autonomous vehicles.
“It allows us to drive partially autonomously on specially marked bus lanes. This makes public transport safer, more efficient and more productive. More people can travel from A to B quickly, punctually and in comfort. To the benefit of all: bus operators, bus drivers and passengers,” said Dr. Bernhard.
As well as self-driving innovation, the record-setting bus also offers passengers a glimpse of how interiors are set to evolve to meet changing mobility demands. Inside the bus, space is divided into two, a central space for those traveling short distances balanced by larger spaces modelled on the idea of a public square, packed with natural light for those traveling further with park-inspired bench seating. All tickets are electronic with the bus automatically “validating” passengers as they board or alight again.
And of course, in an age of hyper-connectivity, two huge 43-inch monitors display all necessary information regarding the route alongside points of interest, news headlines and other potentially useful or rich information for those on board. —Relaxnews
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