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The concept of "autonomous" vehicles generally conjures up images of futuristic, driverless living rooms on wheels that lack a driver's seat or even a steering wheel.
But, as a new "autonomous" bus pilot program in Scotland goes to show, we're really not quite there yet.
That's because the program requires not one but two humans to operate the buses full-time.
While UK outlets like the BBC, The Guardian, and Sky News breathlessly lead their stories on the Scottish bus line with the moniker "self-driving," Jalopnik was the one to point out the curious caveat in its headline.
As that outlet notes, the quote-unquote autonomous bus line will feature five double-decker vehicles, operated in part by a safety driver and a bus captain who will help passengers board the bus.
In other words, "self-driving" feels like a bit of a misnomer.
The bus route will take up to 10,000 passengers per week on a 14-mile circuit in and out of the suburbs of Edinburgh. Officials are already singing its praises, while the British government is (perhaps erroneously) calling it the first of its kind in the world.
"This is an exciting milestone for this innovative and ambitious project," Kevin Stewart, Scotland's transport minister, told the BBC, "and I very much look forward to seeing Project CAVForth take to the roads next month."
"We are excited to introduce the UK's first autonomous bus fleet in east Scotland," Stagecoach UK managing director Carla Stockton-Jones added.
While this Scottish fleet certainly isn't the first driverless bus to hit public streets, it's nevertheless ironic that so-called self-driving transportation still needs humans to operate in the year 2023 — but then again, it's probably for the best, given the current state of the technology.
More on autonomous vehicles: Hackers Say They Can Access Teslas and Make Them Honk Wildly
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