Mercedes Shows Off the Self-Driving Bus of the Future

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its Future Bus with CityPilot technology.

The German automaker has been investing heavily into self-driving technologies and has demonstrated that its Future Bus is capable of driving itself using a 12 mile route through an urban environment. According to Mercedes, the CityPilot technology is based on the company’s Actros truck with Highway Pilot that debuted two years ago. Since then, the technology has undergone further development so that it can specifically be used in a city bus, with numerous added functions.

The result is a bus that can recognize traffic lights, communicate with them and safely negotiate junctions controlled by them. In addition, CityPilot is able to recognize obstacles, including pedestrians on the road, brake autonomously, approach bus stops automatically and drive through tunnels. There are just under a dozen cameras on the Future Bus that scan the road and surroundings, while long- and short-range radar systems constantly monitor the route ahead. Combined with a GPS system, the City Bus was able to cover an exacting route of over 12 miles, featuring a number of tight bends, tunnels, numerous bus stops and even high speeds for a city bus.

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The Future Bus made its first public journey on part of Europe’s longest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route in the Netherlands, linking Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport with the town of Haarlem. Based on the Citaro, the Future Bus has a top speed of 43 mph on the open road and throughout the journey, the bus driver didn’t need to operate the gas or brake pedals at all, and only needed to take the wheel in accordance to traffic regulations when there was oncoming traffic.

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