Singapore, Greece Enter Driverless Bus Fray
Photo via YouTube
The future comes bearing gifts, namely the ability to take public transportation without awkward conversations with the driver about the weather or how his or her day is going.
Hooray for the misanthrope in us all.
Kidding aside, the driverless bus revolution seems to be going well at the moment. Various reports signal a push to take humans out of the driver’s seat in Singapore and a Greek town.
Essentially, we are at the beginning of what may very well be the norm for cosmopolitan areas around the world.
One day, for example, you may be able to hop on a bus sans driver in Paris, which will whisk you to your destination in sci-fi comfort.
Mashable’s Victoria Ho reports Singapore is testing out infrastructure that will bring self-driving buses to the area in 2016.
Ho points to the following Facebook post from the Land Transport Authority that delivers the exciting news:
We have all experienced self-driving trains in Singapore, but what about self-driving vehicles?Together with the...Posted by Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving on Sunday, October 11, 2015
As the post suggests, officials will utilize CCTV cameras and other technology to gauge the effectiveness of the program.
As to the reason for the innovation, the post states the following: “With land and manpower as Singapore’s two key constraints, we hope to gain valuable insights into how we can design our towns of the future to take advantage of this technology and incorporate self-driving mobility concepts into our public transport model to meet Singapore’s needs.”
The Associated Press’ Derek Gatopoulos has equally exciting news out of Trikala, which is a town in northern Greece.
As Gatopoulos states, the town “has been chosen to test a driverless bus in real traffic conditions for the first time, part of a European project to revolutionize mass transport and wean its cities off oil dependency over the next 30 years.”
The test comes in conjunction with CityMobil2, which has been rolled in small, “controlled conditions” in France, Finland and Switzerland.
Trikala may give researchers an idea of how the driverless technology would work in a more rural setting.
However it’s the town’s versatility that may have edged out other locations. The AP quotes Odisseas Raptis of e-Trikala who states: “There were cities bidding for this project all over Europe. They offered relatively restricted urban areas. But we said we could make it happen in a downtown environment and we won. We have a 2.4-kilometer (1.5-mile) route, the bus route. It's mixed with traffic, with pedestrians, with bicycles, with cars ... That hasn't been done before.”
Here is a video illustrating the testing phase in Trikala:
As you can see, the bus moves slowly, 12.5 miles per hour according to the AP. Maneuvering through bikes and pedestrians is a lot like implementing drastically innovative infrastructure it seems.
While moving at a snail’s pace, the path is evident. The world is puttering along to a future where drivers will become a rarity in your travels.
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