This autonomous Mercedes bus is the future of public transport

Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled an autonomous bus concept, and it’s pretty much the future of public transport. Originally named the Future Bus, the new concept employs an array of autonomous tech to get passengers from A to B – without the need for a driver.

The Future Bus uses Daimler’s CityPilot autonomous system, which is essentially a network of cameras and GPS designed to figure out where the bus is on the road, and what its immediate surroundings are like. That means the Future Bus can detect the status of lights, where other vehicles are on the road – and even knows when to stop and pull off at bus stops. This sort of system could be used today, because unlike connected cars, it can work with existing roads and infrastructure.

Mercedes has already tested the bus in the Netherlands where the autonomous functions worked without a hitch, but the bus still has a driver in case of emergency.

Inside, the Future Bus uses a new approach to travelling too. Rather than one zone for all, the Future Bus splits passengers up based on how long their journeys are. The result? Passengers with longer journeys will get better, less accessible seats, while those hopping on for shorter journeys may stand closer to the exit. In theory, this should make the movement of passengers far more efficient.

Autonomous technology may be great for our cars, but it’s in the public-transport sector that it will really come into its own. Imagine a future where buses are wirelessly charged, autonomous vehicles, which use connected systems to deliver people around cities. We already have the technology to do it, and concepts like the Future Bus show that companies are already working towards something similar.

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