Mercedes Benz has been working on a self-driving bus for some time and it’s gradually getting ready for the market. The bus code-named Future bus is being test-run in the Netherlands and it recently completed a 20km test-run journey.
The bus is actually a self-driving vehicle, but due to local regulations, which requires someone to be at the driving wheels to take over in case of an emergency, a driver that was ready to take over control was at the wheels. Therefore, we can’t refer to the vehicle as 100% self-driving, rather a semi-self-driving bus.
Nevertheless, the test-run was a success as the bus travelled from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to the town of Haarlem, a route that was specifically chosen because it poses good challenges for the technology as there are numerous bends, tunnels, and traffic lights on that particular route.
The bus is capable of recognising all objects on the road like humans, other vehicles, bus-stops, traffic lights and so on. It can also integrate with a city’s infrastructure network, which gives it access to when traffic lights on its route would change from green to red or vise versa. Furthermore, with the various cameras and other sensors attached to the body of the bus, it can also spot potholes on the road, gather other kinds of data and report back to a central computer.