Published: July 20, 2016 | Amsterdam
Mercedes Benz has taken a step ahead in driverless technology and after working on autonomous cars, the company is now working on introducing the technology in buses manufactured by them. In a recent development, the company’s almost fully autonomous Future Bus successfully completed a 12-mile route in The Netherlands without any driver involvement.
The self-driving technology is called CityPilot and is based on the Highway Pilot Connect technology Mercedes is developing for autonomous trucks. While a human driver can take control on the bus at any moment, the monitoring systems, detailed map data, GPS tracking, and vehicle-to-object communication system are already installed in it. Apart from that, the technology is able to recognise traffic lights, communicate with them and safely negotiate junctions controlled by them. It can also recognise obstacles, especially pedestrians on the road, and brake autonomously. It approaches bus stops automatically, where it opens and closes its doors. And not least, it is able to drive through tunnels.
This semi-automated city bus improves safety, as it relieves its driver’s workload and nothing remains hidden from its cameras and radar systems. It improves efficiency, as its smooth, predictive driving style saves wear and tear while lowering fuel consumption and emissions. With its smooth and even rate of travel it also improves the comfort of its passengers.
To make it commercially available, Mercedes-Benz is developing the technologies with a rapid pace. The bus is ideally suitable for BRT systems, with which it is possible to resolve worldwide traffic problems in densely populated areas and metropolitan regions. It operates highly efficiently, significantly improves the level of safety and relieves driver workload.
The company has not revealed a launch date; however, the other versions of automoated public transportation is still being developed by various companies.