Aug 19, 2007

San Diego working on robot buses for mass transit

It was the second hour that did it. When his 60-mile commute became a full fingers-drumming-on-the-dashboard 120 minutes, San Diego County CTO Samuel Johnson was finally convinced that something had to change. His idea: buses that practically drive themselves. Over the next three years, workers will carve a narrow lane down the shoulder of the increasingly congested Interstate 805, exclusively for buses and commercial trucks modded with lane-keeping sensors and adaptive cruise control. Neither technology is new, but most auto makers tune adaptive cruise control to keep cars farther apart than normal, making traffic worse. In the robot lane, vehicles will be packed like train cars. They'll still have drivers — everyone has to leave the freeway sometime — but they'll be out of the main flow. If the new lanes work, public transportation will move faster, trucks will speed safely along approximately 20 miles of the main US-Mexico shipping corridor (UPS has signed up for the test), and traffic on I-805 will be reduced. "Fixing this problem is going to require some radical thinking," says Jake Peters, founder of transportation startup Swoop Technology, which is designing the system. "And, hey, it could be a way to make a trillion dollars."
Thanks to Wired Magazine. for that report

About 40 years ago when I drove streetcars for the TTC I had something in mind like this. I thought that Robot Streetcars would be a great thing for Toronto. It would cut down accidents (warning… never cut a streetcar off) and human error.

Since that time the RT line has been constructed in Scarborough. It was suppose to be a drverless train that was controlled by computer. They had so many problems with it that the TTC brass decided to revert to a human driver. Besides the TTC always needs someone to blame when something goes wrong.

When I was in Washington DC in the late seventies the driverless subway line had only been in operation a few months at that time. The transit company still placed personnel in the driver’s compartment . They were there to override the computer if necessary.Robot buss

Now San Diego would like to have robot buses on the road. Perhaps they should read here to find out the problems that have occurred in Rotterdam.

1 comment:

Karem Allen said...

I would never get on a bus without a human driver. What is the robot suppose to to if some car is careening towards it out of control?