Mercedes-Benz has taken rapid strides towards realizing its self-driving bus program by conducting a successful test run of the Future Bus in Netherlands. The first journey embarked upon by the fully autonomous public bus connected Amsterdam's Schiphol airport and a nearby town called Haarlem, covering a total distance of 12.4 miles.

The journey of the program.

The self-driving bus program is technically an offset of the transport truck-focused Highway pilot program created by Mercedes-Benz a little over two years ago.

This program has been adapted massively to realize the dream of creating a mode of transport that manages to tackle the problems seen only in an urban environment. The Future Bus had to check off various necessities in order to serve as a mode of public transport, including stopping at traffic lights, passing through tunnels and navigating through any pedestrians encountered along the way. Successfully handling these obstacles has boosted this program a long way.

Complimentary interiors.

Apart from being stunning in terms of exterior design and serving an invaluable purpose of transporting people from one part of the city to another, the Future Bus has also been brilliantly designed internally to add greater value to the idea.

The bus has been segregated into three separate zones based on the commute time of individuals who are making the journey in order to speed up the boarding and drop-off times. The bus also features displays in order to provide entertainment to the passengers and provide information whenever necessary.

Infrastructure tie-in.

The CityPilot program which is responsible for the Future Buses has created a detailed network that allows the bus to receive constant information regarding the infrastructure of the city.

This involves understanding when traffic lights change based on the distance of the bus from the nearest signal, and recognizing the asphalt detail on the roads in order to monitor the changes in terrain. The bus is capable of traveling at speeds up to 43 mph and can pull up to within 2 inches of the curb in order to pick up passengers.

The future of transport.

The true purpose of this program is to reduce accidents and encourage people to rely more heavily on public transport.

With self-driving cars in the pipeline as well, it will be interesting to see the dynamics between the two alternative modes of self-driving vehicles. Future Buses still have a lot more tests to undergo before we see them on the road, but whenever we do, they will be a sight to behold.

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