Commuting on a packed bus can be a stressful experience, but one company in China is looking to make things a little less crowded—by removing the driver. At the end of August, the nation's leading bus manufacturer, Yutong, completed the world’s first successful trial run of a driverless bus. The vehicle began its 20-mile journey in the crowded city of Zhengzhou and arrived in Kaifeng without incident. It also executed several complex driving maneuvers such as changing lanes and responding to traffic lights. And while a man is pictured in the driver's seat (with his hands in the air), the journey was completed without any human intervention.
To navigate busy roads, the vehicle used cameras, laser radar, and a master controller that instructed it when to speed up or to stop at signals. A unmanned bus pulling up beside you on the highway may sound like an unsettling scenario, but most experts agree that driverless vehicles could be a safer alternative to human-driven machines.
The bus was in development for three years before its debut, and now Yutong plans to conduct more trials, including a test run on a race track, before it’s ready to shuttle the public. You can check out the driverless bus in action below.
[h/t: City Lab]