The Mercedes-Benz city bus of the future — appropriately called Future Bus — completed a milestone journey that showcased how its CityPilot autonomous driving technology can help it successfully navigate a complicated urban route.
The 20-km, or roughly 12-mile, journey took the bus along a route in the Netherlands that links Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport with the town of Haarlem. The challenge for the Future Bus included numerous bends, passes through tunnels and across intersections with traffic lights.
Although a Daimler video does show a driver at the wheel, he never touches it as the bus goes through its paces via technology that allows it to recognize obstacles, especially pedestrians, in the road and brake autonomously. It also approaches bus stops automatically, where it opens and closes its doors, according to the company.
Just under a dozen cameras scan the road and surroundings, while long and short-range radar systems constantly monitor the route ahead. There is also a GPS system. The bus’s sleek exterior is only matched by its futuristic interior, as this is definitely not the public transportation you’re used to.
CityPilot is based on the technology of the autonomously driving Mercedes-Benz Actros truck with Highway Pilot, which was presented two years ago.
Daimler has a strong connection to the Pacific Northwest with its Daimler Trucks North America headquartered out of Portland, Ore. The company recently opened a state-of-the art new 9-story HQ building on Swan Island.