The big picture: If you told the average person a few years ago that the future of vehicles would be self-driving, they’d probably think you were crazy – and yet, that’s precisely what the world has begun to transition into as of late; albeit more slowly than some anticipated.
Most modern carmakers offer automated driver-assistance features in their vehicles, and they continue to improve every year. For example, Tesla’s Autopilot tech can now switch lanes for you on the highway (or keep you in your lane, if necessary), automatically park itself, and even drive directly to you in a crowded parking lot.
These self-driving tech advancements usually happen on the consumer level, but it seems some governments are considering implementing it in their public transportation systems as well.
Indeed, as reported by ZDNet, Singapore is partnering up with Volvo to test out the latter’s fully-autonomous public buses. Apparently, the buses in question are controlled entirely by an AI, which uses complex sensors to get information about its environment and pilot the vehicles safely and efficiently.
…the buses in question are controlled entirely by an AI, which uses complex sensors to get information about its environment and pilot the vehicles safely and efficiently.
Right now, the buses can hold 80 passengers and are only being tested in controlled environments that are intended to replicate real-world traffic conditions. However, if all goes well, Singapore could begin to add the buses to their real public transportation fleet.
In addition to being completely self-driving, Volvo’s buses are also fully-electric, with no emissions. According to Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (which is collaborating with Volvo on this project), the vehicles consume up to 80 percent less energy than their ICE counterparts.
Time will tell how effective this experiment will be, but for now, the future looks bright.