Mercedes-Benz has just completed the first run of its semi-autonomous Future Bus and it seems it was a success. The new form of public transport was taken on a 20 km route in Amsterdam from the Schiphol airport to the town of Haarlem. The route included a series of bends, tunnels, and traffic lights for the system to navigate through in order to form a realistic driving test.
Legal requirements meant the bus required a human driver to be on-board in case of an emergency, but despite this, Mercedes-Benz is adamant that its autonomous tech, labelled CityPilot, is safer and more efficient than any human driver can ever be. The technology we see in this bus is sourced from the autonomous Daimler Future Truck that is currently operating in the United States.
As a result, the bus is able to identify things such as stops and a capacity monitor that allows it to smooth out its acceleration to compensate for the standing passengers within and prevent them from falling over. With a top speed of 70 km/h, it isn’t very fast, but it has the ability to communicate with the infrastructure of modern cities.
Through this, the Future Bus is able to detect the state of each traffic light and use the city’s camera system to pick up potholes and other obstacles on the road surface. This project hopes to deal with the growing city population and provide smoother public transport.