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Driverless Buses Begin Test Runs in Switzerland

They look pretty cute

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), in partnership with the Mobility Lab Sion Valais, has just announced that it will begin testing electric driverless buses on public roads for the first time ever in Switzerland—starting today. This pilot project will allow EPFL researchers to test and improve their traffic and fleet-management algorithms.

Two buses carrying 11 passengers will make their way through the historical district of Sion, the largest city in the Canton of Valais (located in southwestern Switzerland), making a couple of stops along the way. The shuttles will be free of charge.

PostBus, the country’s leading public bus operator, will run the smart buses, which will travel at a maximum speed of 20 kilometers (approximately 12.4 miles) per hour. A remote operator will monitor and control the buses using a program developed by EPFL startup BestMile. An attendant will be on board the buses to ensure safety and smooth operations.

Before the the project was green-lit, extensive research and legal analysis were conducted by the Swiss Federal Roads Office and the Valais Roads Service. In the meantime, the electric vehicles were decked out with an air conditioning system, second battery, access ramp, and windshield wipers.