This could change how we view public transport for good and whether we all are prepared for this or not, it is very evident that self-driving cars are the future and Mercedes-Benz is definitely taking the lead. It’s not just private transportation. This innovation has been extended to public transport. Sounds exciting but scary at the same time.
Mercedes-Benz future bus with City Pilot, drove 20km in the Netherlands, on a route that connected Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport with the nearby town of Haarlem. The self-driving bus made stops at traffic lights, passed through tunnels, and navigated among pedestrians.
Mercedes has ensured that they will make these buses well-suited to the city and of course improve on the vehicle’s interior design. According to the company’s official press site, the busses have three separate zones designed based on how long of a trip a passenger is signed to be on board for, and there are displays for showing entertainment and other media, as well as a ceiling designed to resemble a forested canopy.
This self-driving vehicle is fully networked. It has been designed to perform all functions of a driver. It communicates with traffic lights along the route for cues on changing lights. An onboard close-range camera array also manages “fingerprint”-level recognition of asphalt detail, comparing it against previous trips to watch out for variances and keep things on track.
The autonomous functions of the vehicle manage speeds of up to 70km/h (around 43mph) and also takes care of navigating to raised bus stops along the route, slowing down and stopping to pick passengers up, pulling to within 2 inches from the curb.
Short-range autonomous buses are already getting deployed, mostly in controlled privately-owned settings around the world, but what this Mercedes pilot shows is a successful real-world test of what could be a core component of future public transportation systems.