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Daimler Buses demonstrates self-driving city bus

CityPilot technology uses radar, cameras and GPS systems for fully-automated operation of vehicle on urban routes

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Daimler Buses has demonstrated its autonomously driven Mercedes-Benz Future Bus equipped with CityPilot technology on a 20km route in Amsterdam.

On a section of the longest bus rapid transit (BRT) line in Europe, the technology-loaded vehicle was driven at speeds of up to 70km/h, while negotiating traffic and signals, and made to stop at and depart bus stops of its own accord without input from the on-board driver.

The demonstration was the first time ever that any manufacturer has put a city bus into automated operation in a real-life traffic situation, said a statement from Daimler Buses.

Dr. 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: “The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot demonstrates our leading role in the bus business. We are investing approximately €200 million 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 Future Bus recognises whether a route is suitable for automated driving and informs the driver accordingly, who then presses a button to activate CityPilot, Daimler Buses said. The driver then does not press the accelerator or brake pedal and does not steer, as any driver activity overrides CityPilot. The driver can take over at any time he feels is required.

CityPilot equipment includes long- and short-range radar, a large number of cameras and satellite-controlled GPS navigation systems. The intelligent connectivity of the cameras and sensors allows for a precise picture of the surroundings and the exact position of the bus.

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