Google may have little pod-like driverless cars driving about the streets of California, but a Chinese company recently sent a massive, self-driving bus packed with passengers on a 20-mile ride through the city of Zhengzhou.
Yutong, the firm that helped build the vehicle, said that on its maiden journey earlier this month the specially adapted bus “successfully completed a series of highly complex driving acts,” such as automatically changing lanes, overtaking, and responding to lights.
Hitting a top speed of 42 mph and reaching its destination without so much as a scratch, the journey apparently marked the world’s first successful trial of a self-driving bus.
Yutong has spent the last three years working with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and driverless-car experts to create tech for the bus that includes two cameras, four laser radars, and an integrated navigation system.
The company says the bus and its self-driving technology require further development and testing before a proper rollout can be considered.
A video posted this week by Russia Today shows the vehicle making its way along a highway. While the passengers may look a little unsure about the idea of a self-driving bus taking them around town, the “driver,” reclining in his seat with his hands behind his head, looks like he’s thoroughly enjoying the experience.
Perhaps it hasn’t dawned on him yet that he might soon be out of a job.