As Delhi waits for more buses, South Korea experiments with self-drive options

Delhi has one of the highest private vehicles to persons ratio in the country and at a time when more public buses are being planned to strengthen mass-transit options, many other global cities are accelerating new-age technologies. Seoul, capital of South Korea, is one such city where self-driving buses are being tested for feasibility and safety.

A self-drive bus is seen parked at one of two stops in Seoul. (AFP)
A self-drive bus is seen parked at one of two stops in Seoul.

Seoul launched its first-ever self-driving public transport bus route on Friday with the aim of ensuring a comfortable journey for passengers who are confident about their safety in a vehicle minus a driver. The said bus may not appear like a vehicle from the future - rounded edges, large windows and all, but it could usher in a new experience for the city's population in which chances of accidents caused by human error is brought down to an absolute minimum.

The experiment is being carried out by 42 Dot, a South Korean startup which has now been taken over by Hyundai. An official associated with the company tells news agency AFP that the autonomous bus is made of composite parts to keep a check on production costs and to eventually help scale up. And as part of the experiment, a limited number of these buses would move around a set radius of 3.4 kilometers in downtown Seoul. The entire circuit would be completed in around 20 minutes.

But while the autonomous bus does get an array of cameras and radar to make its way around the city on its own, there is a driver behind the steering at all times for precautionary purpose. He is tasked with taking control if and when required. If, however, the experiment is indeed a success, 42 Dot claims that the technology can be moved forward to not just more autonomous public buses but other larger vehicles as well like delivery trucks.

First Published Date: 26 Nov 2022, 08:54 AM IST
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