Artificial Intelligence: Self-Driving Bus Does Five Mile Route Daily In Málaga, Spain

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It runs fully automatically, though a driver is present at the wheel.

Irizar Group, an international business group headquartered in Spain, has built a bus capable of running autonomously for Avanza, the first private operator of urban, public road transportation in Spain. The electric bus started operations in the Spanish city of Málaga from Saturday. (The Guardian)

Avanza’s driverless bus in Málaga

That is a misnomer because Spanish regulations do not yet permit vehicles to run without drivers. A driver is therefore always present to take over the control of the bus in case circumstances demand it.

“We put it in automatic mode and it runs completely autonomously,” says Cristobal Maldonado, the driver.

Equipped with sensors and cameras, the bus could also “interact” with traffic lights. (The latter are also fitted with sensors for this purpose). Based on data recorded on its trips, the bus uses AI to improve its road decisions.

“The bus knows at all times where it is and what is around it,” said Rafael Durban Carmona, who heads the southern division of Spanish transport company Avanza.

The bus (pictured above) looks like a normal bus, is about 39-feet long, and can carry 60 passengers. It plies six times every day on a fixed, five-mile route connecting Málaga’s port to the city center.

The bus is fully electric and emission-free and can operate on both manual and automatic modes.

Spanish government project

Irizar developed the bus as a part of the AutoMost Project financed by the CDTI (Centre for Industrial Technological Development) of the Spanish Ministry of the Economy.

The project aims to develop technologies that allow for the automation of vehicles in urban and industrial transport applications, to boost efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

Importantly, AutoMost seeks to ply standard-sized automated vehicles in real-time city traffic and not along reserved or protected routes.

Related Story:  Chinese Driverless Company Pony.ai Raises $100M In Extended Round

Image Credit: A Normal Avanza Bus                                                   

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