Friday, September 26, 2008

Look Ma, No Hands! Automated Bus Steers Itself

Wired's Autopia blog has a piece on a self-steering bus! They claim it could 'cut the cost of rapid transit systems':

For any of you who get nauseated as your bus driver lurches crazily from lane to lane in rush hour traffic, UC Berkeley researchers have tested a bus that steers itself, and it actually works.

The self-steering bus developed by California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways follows magnetic strips embedded in the road, although drivers still handle acceleration and braking and can take full control of the bus at any time. The technology could make life better for passengers by increasing efficiency, and could cut the cost of rapid transit systems.

"The magnetic guidance system developed at UC Berkeley can both improve safety and provide a smoother ride for our passengers," says Chris Peeples, president of the board of directors for the Bay Area transit agency AC Transit. "The system has the potential to make bus rapid-transit routes -- particularly those that involve bus-only lanes -- as efficient as light rail lines, which in turn will make buses more efficient in getting people out of their cars."

The test used a 60-foot research bus traveling along a one-mile stretch of East 14th Street in San Leandro, near San Francisco. During the demo, the coach traveled in a perfectly straight line before pulling into a bus stop and stopping one centimeter from the curb.

Read more at - 'Look Ma, No Hands! Automated Bus Steers Itself'


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