Elon Musk mentioned earlier this month in his highly anticipated ‘master plan’ manifesto that he next wants to bring electric power and autonomous control to public transport. Now while it’s a cool idea that almost certainly will become the future of the way we get around at some point soon, it seems like this time around, Mr Musk might be a little late to the party.
To see why, we must travel to the quaint Swiss city of Sion; where authorities have this week launched the first ever autonomous bus service around a small circuit in the city. The fruit of six months of testing on private roads, the ‘Postbus Smart’ service will comprise two french-built Navya AMRA electric minibuses, and is available to use from Thursdays through til Mondays at least until late 2017. Think of it as the first ‘real world’ endurance test of autonomous public transport, if you will.
According to the original piece on from German website Heise Online, we’ve discovered the mayor of Sion, Marcel Maurer, was present at the service’s maiden voyage. And what inspirational quotes did he come out with on what promises to be a big moment in history? “The air conditioning is not really effective…”
The buses themselves use three 3D scanning cameras to monitor their surroundings with an accuracy of at least 5cm. Heise Online reports that, despite this, there were a few hairy moments during the test driver where the bus had to stop worryingly abruptly to avoid a cyclist, and then again with a camera operator. Not ideal when all of the passengers are standing…
Check out the original article here.