Could driverless buses and other public transportation take off well ahead of driver-less cars? Many think so. Here’s an interesting article about how that is happening in Europe over the next few months:
The Swiss city of Sion will begin a two-year trial of two autonomous buses beginning in spring 2016.
The buses come from startup BestMile and will be operated by SwissPost transport subsidiary Car Postal. The company’s name hints at the purpose for these small, nine-person shuttles. They are designed to cover the “last mile,” the gap between a regular bus or metro stop and the passenger’s own front door.
Unlike Google’s private self-driving vehicles, BestMile’s focus is public transport. It also takes a different approach suited to a network of vehicles running on known routes: the network controls the buses “the same way a control tower does in an airport,” writes BestMile. The company is also working with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to improve the technology for better control and routing.