Political

Driverless buses will be running on Swiss roads next year

CarPostal driverless bus

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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 [using] small, nine-person shuttles…

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,”…

This hub-and-shuttle model might prove an excellent alternative to the other commonly-imagined scenario of fleets of driverless “taxis”—a robotic Uber network, offering a similar level of convenience but without putting so many vehicles on the road. Driving on known routes is easier for the buses, too, because they can have detailed internal maps of those routes instead of having to assess road conditions on the fly. It’s notable that the first driverless buses in the U.S. will also use this short-hop model. [Fast Company]

UPDATE: The trial has been going well and is being extended.

The Swiss city of Sion plans to expand its pioneering autonomous bus service, doubling the length of its route to the train station and extending the offer to the end of 2018. [SwissInfo]

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