http://www.greencarcongress.com/2017/08 ... chton.html
Are Autonomous Buses the Answer for Efficient Transportation and Reducing Emissions and Fuel Consumption?
Driverless cars are poised to decongest personal car traffic, shrink our eco footprint, free up parking spaces and reduce the frequency of collisions by about 90%. This could result in a conservative estimate of $642 billion in cost savings. But as promising as autonomous private vehicles are, could self-driven buses outshine them?
Recent innovations in autonomous public transport. It’s not hard to imagine a computer program directing buses to pick up and drop off passengers, because it’s already being done. Autonomous bus prototypes have hit the streets in select areas around the world. In May 2017, Reno, Nevada, boasted that it is laying the groundwork for the industry’s first driverless bus program, launching a three-phase process to roll out a full fleet in its downtown area.
Arizona-based startup Local Motors has unveiled Olli (earlier post), a 12-passenger minibus that may hit university campuses in Las Vegas and Miami later this year. In Helsinki, Finland, two driverless buses were employed last year—one of the first programs of its kind. Likewise, a plan in Western Australia aims to do away with timetables, supplementing their autonomous transit system with an on-demand bus service that provides service to elderly and disabled people who don’t live along standard-route bus services. Shuttles like these emulate systems currently used in the Netherlands.
These kinds of programs seek to do more than economize public transportation. They aim to change the way humans think about public transit, making it their first choice, not last, for getting around. Otherwise, smaller driverless vehicles (including taxis, rideshare services and private cars) could potentially eliminate the need for public transit. After all, why remain beholden to a fixed bus route when a car can pick you up and drop you off door to door? . . . .