China is upping the game on self-driving vehicles, as Chinese manufacturer Yutong has introduced the world’s first driverless bus.
This represents the first step towards a system of unmanned mass transportation.
The large and accommodating vehicle was unveiled at the end of August. It took three years of development before it was able to successfully execute a 20 mile autonomous trip through the busy city of Zhengzhou.
The bus made the trip safely and without incident. However, a driver was behind the wheel and ready to take over if anything went wrong.
Yutong says that the bus performed fantastically during the trek, which spanned from Zhengzhou to the city of Kaifeng. The trip had 26 traffic lights in total, and traffic was particularly heavy.
The driverless bus managed to complete several complex driving acts. It changed lanes, overtook slower cars and responded to traffic lights. The highest speed that the bus was able to achieve was 42 mph.
Many automotive experts in China believe that driverless vehicles will eventually be able eliminate all kinds of traffic accidents, making driving considerably safer.
The bus utilizes technology, such as cameras, laser radars and a master controller that lets it know when to speed up and when to stop at traffic signals.
Yutong also says that the bus has an efficient driving style. It claims that this driving style can only be attained through years of driving experience as an attentive and careful driver. This driving style will reportedly lessen energy waste and make driving friendlier to the environment.
Yutong plans to conduct additional tests in the near future. As a part of this testing, the bus will also be run on race lanes. Eventually, the company hopes that their driverless vehicles will be used in public environments on a daily basis throughout China.