People in London are getting the unique opportunity to test driverless shuttle bus for the first time. Around 100 people are called to travel in a prototype shuttle. They will cover a 2-mile distance near London’s O2 Arena over the course of the next three weeks. This is an exciting new step that is taken by Greenwich.
How is fail safe the driverless shuttle bus?
The shuttle bus seats four people at a time and does not have a steering wheel or a brake pedal. Now, this might surprise some people. During the trial, only three lasers and five cameras will help the cars stay on track during the journey. Pedestrians and cyclists also use the lane it is being tested. This means that even though it will not be as congested as the roads, it will be fairly packed during the peak hours.
This shuttle bus is built to come to a halt if it detects something within 100m ahead. It also comes to a stop if it detects something along the path. The makers claim that it comes to a “gentle, graceful halt.” But every time it detected a moving object along the lane, it will stop. This has the potential to become a hassle for the users. While the manned buses will know which object is a threat and which one is just passing by, the shuttle bus will naturally come to a halt. The passengers who will travel in these buses over the next couple of months will be the final judge of the journey.
Also, we think human intelligence should not be undermined when it comes to safety. Therefore the fact that it has an emergency brake is a nice little touch. It will allow just the right amount of human control to remain persistent. Till now, this shuttle bus is devised to fail- safe only along the pedestrian environment.
Driverless Shuttle Bus – Just A Start!
This move is aimed towards making it easier for the small households near Greenwich to access the public transport. About 5000 people applied for this test drive which took only 100 people for a ride. If the trials are a success then by 2018, Greenwich could have access to driverless shuttle buses.
This is not the first time such cars have been tried out though. Recently in Milton Keynes, Oxbotica journalists were asked to try out these cars, and a traffic warden was also requested to ride with them for the experience.
The Emirates also signed a deal with a Chinese firm to start operating pilotless flights in an aim to reduce traffic on its streets. Soon autonomous flights and drives will occupy the streets and skies. We hope we will still have emergency controls though.