City buses are improving all the time – new safety systems are being introduced, they are becoming more and more environmentally friendly and comfortable. However, on the other hand, basic principles remain the same – it is still a big heavy vehicle, which puts the driver to the most responsible position regarding the safety of the passengers. Now world’s biggest bus manufacturer, Daimler Buses, is presenting the bus of the future with CityPilot.
This system already proved its capabilities and usefulness. It was tested on the longest bus rapid transit (BRT) line in Europe in Amsterdam, where it had to drive at speeds up to 70 km/h, stop to the nearest centimetre at bus stops and traffic lights, drive off again automatically, pass through tunnels, brake for obstacles and so on. And it performed beautifully. This system builds upon Highway Pilot technology, introduced couple of years ago, and can improve working conditions of bus drivers and safety of city traffic significantly.
The Future Bus, wearing a Mercedes-Benz logo, is suited to work in BRT lines – it can recognize whether autonomous diving is possible and informs the driver. Driver remains in charge the entire time – any inputs from him overrule the CityPilot. This system uses long- and short-range radar, a large number of cameras and the satellite-controlled GPS navigation system. All of this technology allows CityPilot to position the bus perfectly accurately. However, not all the technology is fitted in the bus only – the route has special traffic lights (with two red and two white lights) and can communicate to the bus via Wi-Fi. It allows the bus to know when it can accelerate to faster speeds, when to come to a stop and open the doors and so on.
All this technology makes The Future Bus very safe, environmentally-friendly and comfortable. However, it is also interesting from the design point of view. It features an asymmetrical, modern exterior design and very bright open interior. The bus is divided into three spaces – in the front there is “service” area, in the middle – “express” area for short journeys, and at the back – “lounge” for passenger’s that are travelling further. The bus has places to inductively charge smartphones. Driver cockpit is also very modern – driver has a large display, in which all necessary information is presented to him. There is also an electronic ticket selling system, which is an integral part of bus’ connectivity.
BTR lines are extremely suitable for autonomous driving and it is expected that we will see more and more of them in the cities in the near future. This will also allow companies to explore possibilities to enhance the idea of autonomous buses.