Autonomous Vehicles Easy mile bus

Published on October 8th, 2015 | by James Ayre


Self-Driving Buses Arriving In California In 2016

October 8th, 2015 by  

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.

Easy mile bus


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?”


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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • wattleberry

    No more of that left hand/right hand nonsense either.

  • Riely Rumfort

    Death by software flaw anyone?

    • Joe Viocoe

      Still much less likely than a human driver.

      • Riely Rumfort

        Depends, a human driver can’t be hacked but can be distracted.

        I personally feel more safe with humans, I can read their focus, when they have a phone to the ear or keep looking down I can give them attention for both our safety, if they look in the mirror I can give them the gap before the signal. If a self driving vehicle becomes hazardous I can’t see it coming.
        California is busy enough though that traffic will keep down the risk or randomized high speed collisions.

        • Joe Viocoe

          Hacks make big news.. But are still super rare compared to the number of computer systems and networks out there.
          Distractions, and the accidents they cause happen so often that people get bored hearing about it.

          32,000 deaths in the U.S. Every year. That’s almost a 9/11 attack every month.

          • Riely Rumfort

            I know hacks are really rare currently, but let’s look 10 years down the line when everything is more integrated and then think about terrorism catching up technologically. I donno, life to me is a game of chess, I’m always looking at the horizon. Currently its no biggie, a few city buses, neat, but if it becomes real widespread with all goods transportation it’ll be something to think about.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Humans fall asleep, get drunk, get distracted by insects, spilled coffee, and to a very large extend males are distracted by females walking along the sidewalk. Even pictures of females.

          Drivers text while driving. Forget to leave enough space between them and others cars. Look down to change the radio station. Fiddle with their GPS.

          Drivers get road rage and drive into other cars.

          That is not a complete list.

          • Riely Rumfort

            As my first sentence stated humans do get distracted, and have human error surely. I’ve witnessed a lot.

          • Bob_Wallace

            When auto-driving computers get “confused” (can’t make out the lane markers/whatever) they are programmed to slow and alert the driver. If a human does not take over they then turn on the hazard lights, pull to the side of the road, and park.

            People who confuse the accelerator for the brake pedal tend to step down harder on the accelerator.

          • Riely Rumfort

            Which is good protocol. I just have my worries as they will drive into turbulent occasions.
            I think they should make less traveled highways the test grounds though myself. City miles are nearly always more hazardous.
            Ideally they have it take low traffic highways and transport goods, a slightly scenic route.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Self-driving cars have now negotiated US highways for hundreds of thousands of miles while causing no reported accidents.

          • Riely Rumfort

            Aware. Google tests some in my city actually. I’m just precautious I guess, about city miles.

          • Matt

            Tell you you have never been on the interstate and seen some reading a newspaper or book.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ve heard people talk about that but I don’t think I’ve actually seen it happen. I don’t drive on the interstate much, maybe two hundred miles a year. Probably less.

            I’ve had people drive into my lane while looking at their phone.

            My most weird experience was while waiting for a chance to turn left onto a small town ‘main street’. There was a clear opportunity as soon as the car approaching on the left turned left.

            As the car approached the intersection I started moving, timing it so that I would be well behind the turning car yet well ahead of the next arriving car.

            The turning car began their left turn. Their phone range. The driver slammed on the brakes and started talking on the phone, right in the middle of the intersection. I slammed on my brakes.

            The driver sat there until other cars started honking.

            I expect better things out of computers.

  • Doug Cutler

    Watching the recent 60 Minutes segment on driverless vehicles, I wagered not once would they mention electric vehicles and their powerfully disruptive synergy with self-driving tech. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I believe I won the bet. Same thing with a recent article on the same subject in Maclean’s Magazine, Canada’s version of Time.

    I wonder what they’re afraid of?

    • The hyperloop at 24 million passengers a year.

      • Doug Cutler

        I’m not certain that time won’t show the hyperloop to be Musk’s best idea ever.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I agree. Although I’m happy to call it one of his two best ideas ever.

          Just thinking about how the Hyperloop might change the way we travel. Let’s assume a couple hours is roughly the tolerance time for sitting in a pod.

          It’s about 1600 miles from SF to Oklahoma City. A couple of hours. From OKC, OK to NYC, NY it’s about 1,500 miles. Another two hour leg. Hub from OKC to Chicago, 800 miles – one hour.

          I can see a new market for one and two hour movies….

          Driverless cars at the H-loop terminals to carry you the last mile.

          • Doug Cutler

            Coast to coast Hyperloop, let’s do it! Also:

            Considering who we’re discussing it might be wise to qualify it and say best or one of best ideas to date.

            Finally, considering pneumatic tube mail delivery existed in US as early as 1897, is there a parallel universe in which the Hyperloop was implemented in1953?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Pneumatic tubes were a high vacuum powered system. Certainly people have played with that idea before. I can remember thinking about it back in the 1950’s, early 1960’s. Not that I ever took it past “That would be a hell of a ride” stage.

            Did anyone propose the ‘air hocky’ system before Musk?

            The idea is so basically simple. Lower the air pressure in order to lower air resistance. Use the air left in the tube for propulsion by sucking it in at the front and blowing it out through nozzles which hold the capsule off the bottom of the tube and move it forward.

          • Otis11

            Holy cow… I like it!

          • Bob_Wallace

            There might not be a need for two hour legs. I just read a piece about the test track they are building in LA. The steel tubes they have right now are eleven feet in diameter.

            That suggests pods with plenty of room to walk down an aisle to the toilet. More than two hours without a potty break was the leg limiter for me. I regularly do more than 12 on a plane.

            I see riding the Hyperloop as a lot more comfortable than flying. Loading in small numbers, no half hour for the people ahead of you to stuff and unstuff the overheads. No waiting for takeoff clearance or the fog to life. No turbulence. No circling while waiting for a jetway. No wondering how many bounces on the landing.

            And I’ll bet they can design some seats in which the bottom slides forward so that you can stretch out without laying in the lap of the person behind you.

            This is a good read –


          • Otis11

            Thanks for the link!

            Wish one were being built so we could test it! (Or should I say, wish it were being built sooner! Man, so much technologic revolution in the next decade!)

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s one of two to be built. The first one is a short track that is designed mainly for pod design testing. (If I’ve got things right.)

            The second is a five mile loop, not long enough for 800 mile speeds (maybe 200 mph) which seems to be mostly for test propulsion system and getting off the mainline and into stations.

            They’re talking about starting construction next year and being able to operate in 2018.


          • Otis11

            Yes… I read about that a while ago, but had forgotten…

            Can’t wait for one that actually makes real trips (transports people useful distances quickly and economically. (I know, I want to have my cake and eat it too… and I want it now!)

    • Ha. Sadly, I believe you. And why I often stick “electric” into the titles of articles about Google’s self-driving cars.

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