Technology

Switzerland has Electrobuses without drivers

Because the Electrobuses in the Swiss canton of Valais autonomously. It is unique in Europe. But the trend is there. Also in the United States, a first autonomous bus is on the road.

The first duration test of an autonomous person transport in public space will take place in the Swiss canton of Valais. Protagonist is ARMA a small yellow electric bus of the French manufacturer of Navya. He drives passengers on behalf of Swiss Post AG through the old town of Sion to the train station. The autonomous vehicle has eleven seats and reached a top speed of 20 km/h. before was the van six months on a private campus.

SUISSE CarPostal
Photo: PostBus

Steering wheel and gas pedal look in vain for passengers. Instead a so-called light detection is on the vehicle front and rear and ranging system (LIDAR) installed. It emits laser radiation, spectral cameras capture the back light. From the spectral colors, a software then calculates distance and speed of the objects in the environment. Google is working with a similar technique.

PostBus
Photo: PostBus

The software also helps in the analysis of road signs and traffic lights. A stereo vision camera and a GPS sensor be used also, so that ARMA exactly determines its position on 5 cm.

It’s not about still without a security driver

It is but not without monitoring. A so-called tele-operator in the operations center can immediately intervene from a distance and the bus stop.

PostBus
Photo: PostBus

There is also a security driver on board. He initiates an emergency braking in emergencies with emergency buttons makes minor corrections of motion with a joystick. He also helps passengers with wheelchairs and baby carriages at the getting in and out.

Pilot project runs through fall 2017

Be soon autonomous E buses in the Switzerland? No, existing bus lines will remain. But, it could be that driverless vehicles in the future drive to secluded places, public transport so far can not operate.

But until then, it’s still a long way off. Initially, ARMA must prove in the pilot project, which runs until fall 2017. And even though technically everything works reliably, the legislation still would have to adapt to. During the test, the authorities have granted only special permits.

Armas timetable is incidentally quite unreliable. The bus can run only if the weather is right and no short-term construction sites or events take place on the route. The post AG therefore recommends passengers to inform with a Smartphone app via the position of the shuttle.

PostBus
Photo: PostBus

The Swiss PostBus is not the only one in the world, which is on the road without a driver. Since a few days the small Olli of manufacturer’s local bus in National Harbor in the United States motor without driver on fixed routes. Test runs are planned in Las Vegas and Miami. According to Jay Rogers of local motors there are already talks with about a dozen other cities around the globe, about Berlin, Copenhagen and Canberra.