Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Autonomous vehicle trial starts on Busway

I've decided to stick with Business Weekly's definition in the title for this posting. The Cambridge News prefers "driverless robot buses" (which begs the question as to how it would be defined if actually driven by a robot...). Whilst the BBC goes for "driverless bus 'pod'". As you can tell, even defining what it is that's being described isn't easy!

Simply because it seems to repeat a press release, I'll stick with Business Weekly (links to all of the sources referenced appear at the end of this posting).

It reports that the "RDM Group is utilising its existing driverless PodZero to complete feasibility studies ahead of the potential deployment of a number of 10-seater autonomous buses that will run between Trumpington Park and Ride and Cambridge Station, via the strategically important Cambridge Biomedical Campus (Addenbrooke’s) site." The idea being that a successful trial could lead to the introduction of an autonomous bus service after 8pm in the evening and during the weekends.

An RDM member of staff notes that the Trumpington to Cambridge section of the Busway is an ideal route as "it is segregated from the highway allowing the pods to whizz up and down without traffic congestion slowing them down and also segregated from pedestrians and cyclists meaning it is a really safe route."

I wonder whether that person has actually surveyed the route at the Cambridge end of this section? It was at precisely the point where buses and cyclists aren't segregated - at the end of the guided section near the Railway Station -  that an accident happened earlier in the summer.

Funding is being provided by Innovate UK, and delivered in partnership with Connecting Cambridgeshire and the Smart Cambridge Programme.

More at the following sources - although there's a good deal of overlap, since so much of the reporting is based on the initial press release:

Business Weekly: https://www.businessweekly.co.uk/news/automotive/autonomous-vehicle-trial-starts-cambridge
Cambridge News: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/driverless-robot-pods-take-cambridge-13772841
BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-41644810

I submitted a previous report at the time the funding  was first announced:
http://travellingtheguidedbusway.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/driverless-minibuses-feasibility-study.html

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