Driverless ‘bus’ trialled
WEpod, described as a self propelled bus, is being trialled in the Dutch town of Wageningen. The vehicle runs completely automatically, powered by electricity. It features a six-seater cab with automatic door and has a maximum speed of 40kmh and a range of about 100km. It goes on public roads amongst normal traffic and has no driver. A map of the route is programmed into it, including the geometry of the road as well as any objects, such as trees or lamp posts. Safety is ensured using a series of cameras, radar sensors and laser sensors to ensure the WEpod has the correct information about its environment.
According to its manufacturers, of the same name, the vehicle can respond well to other road users and sudden changes. At predetermined critical points and if the vehicle is stopped during travel, an operator in the ‘control room’ is notified, requiring them to initiate certain actions in the vehicle. The passengers can always contact the ‘control room’ from the WEpod. There is also a steward in the vehicle that accompanies the guests.