The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot has driven autonomously for about 20 kilometers on the longest bus rapid transit (BRT) line in Europe, in Amsterdam. Driving at speeds of up to 70 km/h, the automated vehicles pays heed to bus stops and traffic lights, passes through tunnels, brakes for obstacles and pedestrians, and communicates with traffic signals.
A driver is on board to monitor the system, but his job is a lot easier than regular driving. Daimler is the first manufacturer to operate an automated city bus in real-life traffic situation.
Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Board Member of Management of Daimler AG for Daimler Trucks and Buses says two years ago the Highway Pilot helped showcase that autonomous driving would make long-distance truck transport safer and more efficient. CityPilot builds on Highway Pilot and facilitates driving autonomously on specially marked bus lanes. Public transport moves to a safer, more efficient and more productive mark.
Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses says technological competence and innovative strength make company buses successful globally. CityPilot Mercedes-Benz Future Bus demonstrates the company’s strong positioning in the bus business. The company is investing about €200 million in the further development of its city-bus portfolio. CityPilot focuses on fuel efficiency with minimal stress on the engine. This in turn positively impacts operating and maintenance costs, vehicle lifetime and availability.
For CityPilot autonomous driving to succeed in urban traffic, there’s a need for BRT lines with separate lanes. The Future Bus is able to determine if a route is suitable for automated driving and informs the driver accordingly so as to activate the system. Akin to cruise control, is the accelerator or brake pedal or steering is touched, driver activity overrules CityPilot. This ensures the driver is always in charge, and can take control as required.
CityPilot uses assistance systems including long and short-range radar, cameras and satellite-controlled GPS navigation system. Connectivity between cameras and sensors presents an accurate picture of surroundings and exact position of bus.