The Los Angeles Transit Authority is planning an autonomous bus trial.
Bus manufacturer New Flyer will donate 60 vehicles to the city of Los Angeles to test collision avoidance systems. Industry sources claim that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is spearheading a project that will commence in 2020, and will test sensor-based collision avoidance systems designed for autonomous vehicles. Smart cameras and audio-visual modifications will be fitted to assist drivers by warning them of cyclists and pedestrians in close proximity to the vehicle. A part of the exercise will be blind-spot monitoring as well. Of the 60 New Flyer buses involved in the programme, 40 will be fitted with systems from two different suppliers. The remaining 20 buses will continue to work as conventional ones. They will be a part of a control group.
A part of the Vision Zero programme the city of Los Angeles has adopted, the Vision Zero (autonomous bus trial) programme aims at reducing deaths caused by traffic collisions to zero by the year 2025. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Federal Transportation Administration as well as the Minnesota-based New Flyer company. Expressed Chris Stoddart, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Service, New Flyer, that buses are long vehicles, and operate typically in an urban environment. “They don’t have the same manoeuvrability as a passenger car. Traveling in the right-hand lane, buses are by default always traveling in close proximity to pedestrians and cyclists. It makes tonnes of sense to start exploring these types of technologies to hopefully reduce incidents.”