Reality Check For Autonomous Buses

Ah, the poor futurists, their utopia of driverless buses have had a major setback, as a three year test in Vienna has ended with a;

Unsuitable for use in practice.

Paris also had an unsuccessful trial that ended in 2019.

For all those clamoring for autonomous buses, cars and trucks, please take note, the proverbial, rain, snow and sleet, combined with fog, wind and even daisies caused the buses to be driven in manual.

From Zwei’s point of view, would not the investment in autonomous buses be better spent in designing better and more unfriendly buses?


Autonomous bus does not prove itself in Vienna After three years, Vienna ends its project with autonomous buses from NAVYA. Conclusion: Unsuitable for use in practice.

The state of the art in self-propelled shuttles is not sufficient for use in everyday life. This is the conclusion drawn by Wiener Linien, the largest public transport operator in Austria’s capital, after three years of test operation: “The project has shown that the road to autonomous driving in local passenger transport is still a long one.” On Wednesday, the autonomous buses of the navya company rolled for the last time through the young district of Seestadt north of the Danube. Since April 2018, the two shuttle buses have been used first in a garage and on a university campus and then from June 2019 in public passenger test operation in Seestadt. More than 12,000 kilometres were driven at a maximum of 20 km/h and more than 8,000 passengers were transported. Without the coronavirus pandemic, even more people would certainly be driving, even if autonomous driving can lead to nausea.

Wiener Linien diplomatically calls the result “mixed”: “Both in summer and in winter there are still weather-related problems. Strong winds as well as light snowfall, heavy rain or fog ensure that the e-buses have to be controlled manually. For the continuous use of the vehicles on a regular basis, the market still has to cope with numerous tasks.” The project website has already been removed, a follow-up project is not planned. Ideal test field The Seestadt would be ideal for the slow autonomously driving buses. Urban planners have deliberately left a lot of space and at the same time given cars little space. “The use case in Seestadt was a perfect environment for NAVYA to test the autonomous buses,” said NAVYA Sales Manager Jean-Michel Boëz, “Our buses are ideal for new neighborhoods where there is a need for public transport and space for cars is deliberately reduced.”
However, a young district brings with it that something is constantly changing. Therefore, NAVYA had to constantly re-record the route used and even try to predict new conditions. “The environment itself was a challenge, as it was constantly changing due to construction work, etc., causing our team to continuously adapt the route, as well as predicting future work to ensure the smoothest possible operation,” boëz explained. No flowers, more asphalt The extent of the problem was already evident during the first autonomous test drives in April 2018: the track had been mapped in March, when it was still cold in Vienna. Two weeks later it was warm, and the buses always stopped automatically in the same place. Only after some searching was the “obstacle” found: Daisies had grown from a column in the road surface. This disturbed the artificial intelligence of the autonomous vehicle.


One Response to “Reality Check For Autonomous Buses”
  1. Haveacow says:

    I posted this comment a few weeks ago for an article about autonomous cars, it applies here for this article. as well.

    Last year they tested these driverless vehicles/mini buses on a closed 1.5 km long road course at a government office complex here in Ottawa called Tunney’s Pasture. Each vehicle had a technician on it in case of trouble. During my ride at a blistering 15 mph (25 kph) the vehicle stopped because the afternoon sun was causing too much glare on a stop sign and the software couldn’t read it. It also ran right through an activated crosswalk signal (oops). This was a level 4 prototype vehicle on the 6 level driverless vehicle technology/software sophistication scale. Level 6 being a fully functional driverless vehicle which ready for use anywhere. The famous Google Driverless Car was a level 3 technology vehicle. I guess they still have a lot of work to do.!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_780/easymile.jpg

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