Switzerland is introducing two autonomous, electric-powered buses which will begin its two-year testing program beginning 2016. The driverless vehicles are able to carry nine passengers at a time and are set to operate along tourist zones in Sion's Old Town, offering additional public transportation options. The project was developed by Lausanne-based start-up, BestMile, who is currently working on operationalizing the initiative on a commercial scale with PostBus, who provides regional and rural bus services in Switzerland.
On the Road
Unlike similar initiatives like Google’s driverless cars, BestMile is focusing their technology on the production of public transportation. Still in the early stages of testing, it remains to be seen how autonomous vehicles will impact the transportation industry and its manpower requirements in Switzerland. However, the goal is not to eliminate the need for drivers but to provide a link for the “the last mile issue”—a term that refers to the gap between a user’s last stop and final destination—that isn’t currently being serviced by existing public transportation options.
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