For the first time in the United Kingdom, a full-sized autonomous driving bus will be granted a trial later this year by Stagecoach, one of the largest transport operators in Britain.
According to reports from the transport company, the single-decker bus will operate autonomously, particularly in its depots, until laws change to approve the carrying of passengers.
Even so, Stagecoach revealed that the bus would be in a position to drive itself to both washing and refueling points as well as park itself in the company’s depots.
The impressive part about the driverless bus is that it will not require a driver when off public roads.
Stagecoach stated that it is convinced that wider use of such self-driving vehicles could be more efficient, safer and save a lot of space, especially in its depots.
The company also said that even though legal restrictions prohibit the bus from being used without the presence of a driver with passengers on board, the technology is likely to be used more widely in the future.
Even when on the road with a driver, the self-driving bus is expected to be safer for other road operators.
This is thanks to its sensor system that offers more warnings of pedestrians or cyclists in unexpected proximity or blind spots.
Stagecoach partnered with Alex Dennis Limited, a bus manufacturer, and Fusion Processing to build the self-driving bus.
In fact, it is presently being created at ADL’s site based in Guildford, Surrey and it is anticipated to hit the road later in 2018.
What’s more, the transport operator said that the sensors that are already in place to facilitate driverless movement would also assist in bolstering safety, especially when a driver is on board.
Sam Greer, Stagecoach’s UK engineering director, asserted that the self-driving bus is an exciting project that could aid in enhancing efficiency and safety within the company’s depots in time.
Furthermore, the bus could revolutionize the future of bus travel in the long term.
The effort by a traditional bus company to use a full-size vehicle can be viewed as a new step towards broader adoption of self-driving vehicles, particularly in the United Kingdom Passenger services involving small self-driving cars have been granted trials in France, whereas China has already tested bigger driverless vehicles on key city roads in Shenzhen.
The trials conducted in Greenwich indicated that passengers might embrace bigger self-driving cars more readily pods as far as public transport is concerned.
Although driverless trains have been operating in the area for a long time, researchers have found out that trails for the four-to-six-seater buses were surrounded with concerns regarding using them with strangers, whereby 85% of the users said they were happy with self-driving technology but about 45% of them were not pleased about sharing a ride with strangers.
Despite the safety benefits that come with driverless cars, there are certain concerns pertaining to their reliability.
The concerns emanate from a recent accident involving a Volvo Uber in self-driving mode that hit and killed a 49-year-old woman, Elaine Herzberg, when crossing the road.