Self-driving buses will be arriving in California in 2016. Well, in a very limited fashion anyways — a suburban office park in San Ramon, California, will be playing host to a pilot project that aims to further the deployment of the technology.
The pilot project will see the French company EasyMile — a joint venture between Robosoft and the Ligier Group — provide autonomous buses to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority. These will be put to use at the 585-acre Bishop Ranch business park in San Ramon, California. The project will also involve work done at the GoMentum road test site at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station, reportedly.
Worth noting here is that there will be no money exchanged initially between the firms involved.
Initially, the pilot will consist of two of the autonomous buses being tested at the aforementioned old naval station, before then being put into use at the Bishop Ranch business park — home to companies such as PG&E, Chevron, and others.
The Silicon Beat provides more information:
EasyMile has already deployed its low-speed EZ10 shuttles — known as SDVs, or Shared Driverless Vehicles — in closed environments in Finland, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. At one location, the shuttles travel around an amusement park. In another, they take day-trippers from a parking lot to a beachfront. Much like the self-driving cars being developed by Google and other Silicon Valley companies, the vehicles use high-definition internal mapping software to know their routes and various sensors to avoid pedestrians and other obstacles.
But the vehicles will have to be modified to follow the new self-driving handbook from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which is already in force for testing on public roads and still being developed for consumer use.
“In Europe these are truly driverless cars; they don’t even have a steering wheel.” That’ll change in California though, where rules require that they be outfitted with a “steering wheel, brake pedal and accelerator.” Ah, California….
The “future” is upon us, it seems. I wonder how long until bus drivers start losing their jobs? That said, I probably will make use of autonomous taxis and buses myself once available, so perhaps I’m part of the “problem?”
Google Car May Be Nearing Production
The Google Car — Behind The Wheel Of A Car With No Wheel
Google’s Self-Driving Electric Car Fleet Is Expanding
How A Self-Driving Car Sees The Road (TED Talk)
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