Driverless Bus to Begin Frequenting D.C. Streets

Here is a step into the future! :slight_smile:

Olli is a 12-passenger driverless bus, designed by Local Motors, that, in theory, you will one day be able to summon with an app. If this future arrives and driverless vehicles are eventually permitted to shuttle passengers around, the Olli app will function similar to the Uber or Lyft apps, but the vehicle will be nothing like the Uber and Lyft cars you’re used to riding in.

For starters, there’s the whole “no driver” thing, which isn’t exactly true. No, there’s nobody physically sitting at the front of the vehicle steering. Instead, there is a person monitoring the bus’ travels remotely, just in case. But essentially, the bus is driverless.

Finally, Olli is electric, so it’s far cleaner than a standard, gas-powered public bus.

It is already on the streets of the District, and it is scheduled to take the streets of Miami and Las Vegas later this year.

I think this is the first step towards a less car-congested, and a safer, tomorrow.

Olli may become available in countries outside the US:

Local Motors is also in talks to test the bus in cities outside the US, including Berlin, Copenhagen and Canberra. It’s unclear if anyone can get the chance to ride one, since these are merely trial runs, but you can ask local authorities if the EV makes its way to your city.

This should be interesting when a mentally ill nerd figures out how to hack the mini bus. Terrorism made simple.

If the bus hits you how will the computer pay for your car to be fixed?

Are they insured?

:slight_smile: :d :wink:

I imagine the company running them will be required to have them insured, just like any other motor vehicle.

As for safety, Google’s experience with driverless cars has been that they are far, far safer than cars driven by humans. In fact,after 1.3 million miles driven they have been responsible for only one minor fender-bender.

I am soooo glad I’ll be dead before this sort of thing becomes the norm. What happens if you are riding it and you get sick or have a panic attack and need to get out and it won’t let you? :eek:

Yes, and this is why I believe it wont be long after the first driverless cars hit the market (2018) for it to become mandatory for everyone to have one. My guess is many of the vehicle aftermarket companies will create driverless conversion kits for older cars, just so everyone will be able to comply and not have to go out and buy a new vehicle.

The system wont work well if just a few people use the driverless cars and others drive manually, for the computer programs to really work 100%, everyone will have to be handing over the controls, too many mistakes a human can make, and a computer cannot predict their behavior effectively enough.

I see this as a great thing though, after they get the kinks worked out, it should be much easier to travel or go somewhere, not really any need for traffic lights at intersections, and liability/ collision insurance will become a relic of the past, our grandkids will likely look back to the time when people actually drove cars, stopping at traffic lights, pay for insurance on a car, traffic jams, etc.!

Although some type of insurance will still be needed to protect against natural events, like branches falling on parked cars, breakdowns, etc. but that wont be anywhere remotely as expensive to protect against versus insuring cars for wrecks, personal injury.

The bus described in the news article is interactive with the passengers. They can talk to the bus and could give it new instructions. It isn’t like getting on an airplane where you are trapped for the duration of the flight.

Cars can drive defensively, for example drive the speed limit, make sure to leave adequate stopping distance for the conditions, etc.

The “extra equipment” you need to install to make your car autonomous is still very expensive.

I wonder how long it will take before the government is actively tracking our movements? Anytime you pay for a ride, there will be a record. It will no longer be relatively anonymous like public transportation is today.

So you have a remote control weapon for terrorist hackers and a real time monitoring of travel. This does not sound like a very good idea.

People don’t want take an electric bus with a driver in the bus. Why would this change when you move the driver from the bus to an office somewhere?

I think we need to put money into the existing infrastructure and public transit systems and build public transit where it doesn’t exist.

Allegedly this is already happening through EZ Pass.

I do not understand what you are saying. A bus is public transit. Bus routes are more flexible,and less expensive to set up, than rail lines. Unless you plan on walking a distance, bus lines are a necessary addition to rail lines (which, admittedly, excel at speed.)

That’s my point, It’s still a bus. How is this different from the electric buses that are currently on the road with a driver? People don’t like taking the bus now, why would it change if you move the driver from the bus to a cubicle in an office somewhere?

How much public transportation is there outside of the cities? The busses in my town are pretty awful.

I think you make good points. Having been a frequent rider of city buses, my major complaint was the crowding and the frequent stops. If the new driverless vehicles are smaller it would reduce both of those problems. And if the smaller vehicles could customize stops, perhaps even to a doorstep, they would be a tremendous step forward. A driverless taxi service is, perhaps, the ideal. If that could be accomplished with multiple riders, it would be more economical.

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