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Mercedes Just Unveiled a Self-Driving Bus

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The “Future Bus” completed a 20-kilometer trip in the Netherlands

If the latest headlines are any indication, future cities will be full of cyclists, solar roads, and maybe even gondolas. Now, Mercedes-Benz just revealed its design for an autonomous bus that could be a game-changer. Based on technology used in the company’s autonomous truck, the "Future Bus" recently completed its first self-driven journey along a 20 kilometer route in the Netherlands.

In many ways, the Future Bus looks a lot like an updated, sleek version of today’s busses. There are the familiar exit and entry doors and lots of handrails. But using high-tech cameras, radar, and GPS, the Future Bus is able to drive along suitable routes, communicate with traffic lights, and automatically stop at stations. Mercedes also designed the bus with an auto-brake system so it can recognize pedestrians and avoid collisions.

Light plays a key role in the design; colored strips on the exterior indicate when the bus is functioning in manual (white) or automated (blue) operations. Inside, exit doors light up in red while the entrances illuminate in a friendly green color. The futuristic interior uses black, white, and grey with hints of blue and lime green. Windows are large, designer benches hold passengers, and the bus comes equipped with wireless charging surfaces. The bus also boasts three different zones; the front area is a service zone, an express zone for passengers traveling short distances takes up the middle, while the back functions as a lounge for long-distance travelers.