The Swiss city of Sion will begin the adventure of making two autonomous buses circulate through its streets from spring 2016.
They will be small electric buses with up to nine passengers. They are designed to cover the “last kilometer”, the distance between a regular bus or metro stop and the final destination of the passenger.
Buses are controlled in the same way that a control tower controls airplanes at an airport.
This model may be applied in the future for driverless taxi fleets, a robotic Uber network. Driving on familiar routes is easy for autonomous buses, as they can have the route programmed instead of having to assess the conditions of each route on the fly. The first driverless buses in the United States will also use this pre-programmed route model.
Buses may be the first step to seeing driverless vehicles circulating massively in cities. This system is also especially recommended for large European cities, since they all have public transport systems implemented and in operation.