Self-Driving Buses Could Really Reinvent Transportation Systems – CleanTechnica

Congested cities, troubling unemployment due to the absence of transit, and environmental issues from automobile pollution all point towards the need for much greater development of mass transportation.


Would you hop on a driver-less bus? The concept makes a lot of sense and I have read a number of stories about public transport pods that are driver-less and connect to each other on freeways or bus lanes in busy areas.

I suspect this will be the way of the future, it does make a lot more sense than driver-less cars because it is easier to regulate and control, including the specific routes they take.

I’ve been on driver-less trains at airports and they work fine. However I have one significant concern about driver-less public transport and that is about keeping passengers safe from each other.

I have been in many situations around the world where passengers have been unruly, or potentially dangerous. In those situations, knowing that there is a driver, a conductor or other official person who is keeping an eye on what is happening on their PT vehicle makes all the difference.

If the vehicle has no one on board but he passengers, then I would have a problem with using it, at least at certain times of day. Whist I would expect these vehicles to have cameras, just as the bus and train stations have, I doubt they would deter a drunk, or a criminal from taking advantage of a situation where they felt they could get away with it.

If you then have to have someone on board to keep the peace, they could just as well be driving, couldn’t they? What do you think?

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About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
This entry was posted in Crime, driverless vehicles, Public Transport and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Self-Driving Buses Could Really Reinvent Transportation Systems – CleanTechnica

  1. Bill Bennett says:

    Now this is a great idea.


  2. Intriguing question at the end, Luigi. How can you both drive and deal with a dangerous situation at the same time? Sometimes I have the feeling we are obsessed with multitasking, resulting in no job really getting done. Why not have driverless PT services and reassign the drivers a different job, i.e. keeping an eye on the passengers.


    • Luigi Cappel says:

      It’s an option Barbara, and a good one. On routes where people are concerned for their safety we are already getting security people on commuter trains. On buses I could see that on some routes on some times of day, but we are all after the savings of automation and I would expect PT operators of the future to be aiming to offset the costs of driver-less vehicles which will initially be very expensive. We saw the same thing in supermarkets. Scanning wasn’t brought in to provide faster throughput at the checkout in the supermarket although that was a benefit. It was done to reduce costs and staffing numbers and increase profit through smart just in time inventory management.


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