No one should claim to have the world’s first driverless bus, but you know everyone will. China claims to have the world’s first driverless buses on trial on public roads in the Netherlands, Greece, France, Australia and across the world.
Walter Benjamin’s famous quote “history is written by the victors” likely means that since China is the world’s burgeoning superpower, it will likely rewrite history to show that driverless vehicles started in China, perhaps with the rickshaw in 4000 BC.
In any case, what will be important about driverless buses is not who invented them first but which company/country has the best safety records each decade. Should driverless buses prove successful, the technology will soon move to cargo trucks and other delivery type vehicles.
What a Driverless Bus Should be Able to Do
Driverless buses need to navigate busy traffic and traffic jams, brake for jaywalkers and avoid bicyclists and dogs.
In the Netherlands, the Dutch announced the WEpod, a six-passenger driverless bus that has no gas, brake pedals or steering wheel. It is now being tested. A French-made driverless electric bus is set for trial in Perth, West Australia. And China’s leading bus manufacturer Yutong has created a prototype self-driving city bus that is programmed to navigate a 20-mile (32 km) route.
The following video shows a vehicle from the CityMobile2 EU-funded research project that is testing self-driving buses across Europe.
The following video shows the Netherlands’ road test of the Wepod Bus.