Autonomous buses to soon make trial runs in this country

Middle Eastern country Israel is looking to put automated public transport options on its roads with an aim to reduce traffic congestion while also increasing safety and service. The country is soon looking to start the trial runs of autonomous buses as one of the ways to automate mass transport options. Four bus companies have been selected for the initial trials: Egged, Metropolin, Dan and Nateev Express.

File photo of an autonomous bus used for representational purpose only
File photo of an autonomous bus used for representational purpose only

The first trial bus journeys won't be available for the public, with each company tasked with proving safety, viability, and business feasibility of their autonomous vehicle, which will be conducted on closed roads.

Also Read : Is autonomous driving the future of auto industry?

Once approval, these autonomous vehicles will make their move to the public road, plying bus lines for a two-year trial period. The country aims to transition to a fleet of autonomous vehicles that operate without drivers.

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Another motivation behind this move is to tackle Israel's lack of manpower, with the nation facing a severe shortage of bus drivers. The government is offering half of the NIS 61 million ($17 million USD) funding, with the Israel Innovation Authority and Ayalon Highways pitching in too, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Reportedly, 600 smart transportation start-ups are based in Israel alone, with the number of businesses focused on autonomous vehicles growing by 26 percent each year.

And while most countries have been focusing on autonomous cars and taxis, automating mass transit options such as buses offers another way for cities to encourage public transport adoption. “The State of Israel is harnessing the autonomous vehicle to improve Israeli public transport, which will eventually turn Israel into a world leader in autonomous public transport pilots enabling Israeli companies to become global leaders in this sector," said IIA chairman Dr. Ami Appelbaum.

First Published Date: 15 Nov 2022, 12:17 PM IST
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