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Bus manufacturer Daimler Buses has announced the debut of Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot, which is fully automated
The bus drove autonomously for the first time on a route of 20km in Amsterdam. On a section of the longest bus rapid transit (BRT) line in Europe, the bus can drive at speeds up to 70 km/h, stop to the nearest centimetre at bus stops and traffic lights, drive off again automatically, pas through tunnels, brake for obstacles or pedestrians and communicate with traffic signals. The driver, on board, can monitor the system, but with a much easier task than before. The route connects Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport with the city of Haarlem and presented the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with a genuine challenge — plenty of bends, tunnels and traffic lights.
Daimler Buses is the world’s first manufacturer to put a city bus into automated operation in a real-life traffic situation.
Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the board of management of Daimler AG for Daimler Trucks & Buses, said, “With our Highway Pilot, we showed nearly two years ago that autonomous driving will make long-distance truck transport safer and more efficient. We are now putting this technology into our city buses with CityPilot. The system is a further development of Highway Pilot, especially for big cities. It allows us to drive partially autonomously on specially marked bus lanes. This makes public transport safer, more efficient and more productive. More people can travel from A to B quickly, punctually and in comfort. To the benefit of all: bus operators, bus drivers and passengers.”
Hartmut Schick, head of Daimler Buses, added, “In addition to our strong product range, it’s above all our technological competence and innovative strength that make Daimler Buses so successful worldwide. The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot once again demonstrates our leading role in the bus business. We will claim this position also in the future. That’s why we are investing approximately US$219.35mn in the further development of our city-bus portfolio. The advantages of CityPilot for our customers are clear: Our Future Bus operates fuel efficiently and with minimal stress on the engine. That has a positive impact on operating and maintenance costs, vehicle lifetime and availability.”
The first step towards fully automated driving with buses in urban traffic consists of BRT lines with separate lanes. The Future Bus recognises whether the route is suitable for automated driving and informs the driver accordingly. The bus driver then activates CityPilot mode. However, the driver can overrule CityPilot mode.
CityPilot comprises current assistance systems, those used in Mercedes-Benz coaches for example, as well as additional systems, some of which have been taken over from Daimler Trucks and further developed for urban traffic. The equipment includes long- and short-range radar, a large number of cameras and the satellite-controlled GPS navigation system. The intelligent connectivity of the cameras and sensors is pioneering, and allows a precise picture of the surroundings and the exact position of the bus.
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot, therefore, significantly enhances road safety. Its anticipating driving style improves efficiency, puts less stress on the engine and reduces fuel consumption and emissions. And with its smooth, fluent progress, it also enhances passenger comfort.
According to experts, there are now about 180 BRT systems on all continents with a total fleet of approximately 40,000 buses. They carry around 30mn passengers every day.