The world’s first driverless bus will hit Switzerland roads in 2016

By Money Times

Nov 13, 2015 08:18 AM EST

Swiss-based startup BestMile announced that it will begin on-road commercial trials of its autonomous bus system next year. The on-road trial will run for  two years to test how well the vehicles operate in real-life traffic.

BestMile created a system to control fleets of autonomous vehicles. The company teams up with PostBus, a major bus operator in Switzerland and France to launch its first commercial contract.

The autonomous bus is electrically powered. According to The Local, the bus is colored yellow and will be able to carry nine passengers at a time. During the two-year test period, the bus is limited for tourists in Sion's Old town, in the French-speaking canton of Valais.

The autonomous bus will be monitored remotely in the same way that aircraft are controlled from an airport. The operators will use BestMile's software to monitor, control, and optimize the bus in real time.

The technology developed by Lausanne-based BestMile will enable the vehicle to navigate the roads accurately, identify obstacles and read road signs.

BestMile was formed in January 2014 by two graduates of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology - Anne Koymans and Raphaël Gindrat, as reported in the Digital Trends.

BestMile and the laboratory of urban transport system at EPFL then collaborated in two-year joint research project to develop the mathematical algorithms that allow driverless vehicles to deal with obstacles on the road. They develop driverless vehicles that can be operated remotely.

BestMile said in a statement, according to The Manufacturer, that the logarithm calculations are also looking forward to satisfying the needs of transport operators and travelers such as a flexible and reliable on-demand service.

After conducted six months testing at EPFL, BestMile launched the driverless technology to its first customer Navya, a French specialist manufacturer in sustainable mobility, to instal the driverless vehicles technology in two Navya Arma shuttles to wander in Sion.

The driverless mobility solutions have lots of interest as the giant companies have been conducting researches and developments in this area. Tech giants like Google and Apple including numerous automotive brands like Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have been already developing the autonomous vehicles.

While Google and other companies are developing autonomous cars for private use, BestMile is focusing on autonomous public transportation.

BestMile plans to operate more autonomous public vehicles in the future as the technology enables the services to not only the cities but also remote areas which are typically poorly served by public transport.

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