Curiosity got the best of the Dupins, they had to get on board.“I want to get one for my house just take as a mail bus.”
It’s a shuttle bus with doors and seats, but no brake pedal or steering wheel or driver.A thrilling experience for someone who just moved to California from the car capital of the US, Detroit Michigan.“I love adventure, so if something were to go wrong, it probably more interesting.”“I would right in it, yeah, for sure, I don’t think it goes very fast, does it?”
Let’s take a ride and see.The shuttles can go about 16 km with GPS unmanned navigation on an electric battery-powered motor.
It’s a smooth ride but jarring for the brain, since the landscape moves but no one drives.The Bishop Ranch Business Park wants to have 20 of these in ten years.The driverless vehicles will carry 12 commuters to 600 individual offices.They’ll replace these gasoline-powered buses.
“We don’t have enough resources to widen our public rider ways, or to improve them in such a way that we can get that kind of efficiency.So autonomy is the real answer for congestion, particularly on our freeways.”
The buses built by a French company cost a quarter of a million dollars each.The shuttle is equipped with numerous sensors giving it 360 degree vision, so that when something walks in front of the shuttle, it stops.
“It’s like a radar, so it detects all the objects and about a 200 meter radius on top, and it’s got sensors in all four corners of the vehicle there, and then it also has sensors in the front.And that windshield wiper that you see in the back is not for the windshield, it’s too small, it’s for that camera.”
Randy Iwasaki who led the regulatory effort to get the shuttles says, the bus has one more hurdle to pass before the public can actually take a ride.Organizers say success will be realized when people get on and looked down at their cell phones, treating a driverless shuttle just like a normal ride.
Carolyn Presutti VOA News San Ramon California