It is Mercedes Benz’ ‘Future Bus,’ a stylish self-driving bus that, according to the car maker, “looks like a VIP lounge on the inside and as a vehicle of the future times on the outside.”

It is manufactured by Daimler Buses, and may be the most advanced bus ever to hit the roadThe bus was able to travel along a 33- mile route, safely reaching speeds of up to 43 mph, from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to Haarlem. It faced intersections and pedestrians along its trajectory without ever needing assistance from the pilot.

Mercedes Benz' Future Bus is able to stop on command and follow traffic lights, drive through tunnels and sense pedestrians on its surroundings. Image Credit: Engadget
Mercedes-Benz’ Future Bus can stop on command and follow traffic lights, drive through tunnels and sense pedestrians on its surroundings. Image Credit: Engadget

The car is designed so there is a driver at all times to survey the bus’ controls and to have the power to override the systems at any given time. It features a wide array of cameras and radars to ensure the safety of its occupants and the nearby pedestrians. The bus also has a route-learning system, allowing it to memorize roadblocks and roadwork while updating its internal database of frequent routes.

The vehicle is also supposed to connect to the city’s road network, thus being able to receive information directly from traffic lights and other structures.

Watch a concept video of Mercedes’ latest public transport vehicle here:

Futuristic, fancy. A Mercedes

The video shows that Mercedes’ Future Bus lights change depending on the action it performs A press release by Mercedes-Benz reveals that the bus’ lights also turn if the vehicle is driving on a highway, or amid city traffic. The bus’ interiors feature several screens to display maps, locations, and information about the transit service. There is also a comfortable ‘lounge area’, for those that expect to be on board for several hours.

On the other hand, the bus is based on a Mercedes Citaro model, but with a stylish design inspired on a ‘city park’. Even if the Mercedes’ Future Bus is not the first of its kind, it is the first with the sufficiently advanced technology that would allow it to spot pedestrians and other hazards, which is why it became the first to be tested on a public transit system. 

Reportedly, what Daimler Buses plans alongside Mercedes-Benz is to allow users to keep their personal vehicles at home, to ultimately reduce traffic and increase safety among drivers.

The bus runs using the CityPilot platform, a variant of Daimler’s Highway Pilot. Daimler for some time has been working on self-driving big rig trucks. Its Highway Pilot platform has already been tested on Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks, specifically on Germany’s Autobahn 8.

Automating truck driving will allow pilots to have an easier and more efficient workday. Although there is still much more engineering research to do when it comes to automated driving at a commercial level. The number one priority in automated driving tends to be safety, but with enough reliable information, driverless vehicles can spot any obstacle, just as a human would do while driving. Perhaps, even better.

Source: Mercedes Blog