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Driverless buses hit the streets of Stockholm

Self-driving buses are being used in real traffic environments as part of a trial in Stockholm

Commuters in Stockholm’s business district can now use driverless buses in a trial of the technology in real traffic.

The shuttle buses will travel at 24kph and carry up to 11 people. There will be a conductor on the buses, which will be free to use during the trial.

Ericsson is working with organisations such as Stockholm City on the project, which will harness its Connected Urban Transport (CUT) traffic management system. This platform connects infrastructure and traffic and provides data to stakeholders.

Later this year, the buses will be connected to a 5G network as part of the six-month trial.

“The purpose is to test the driverless buses over a longer period of time on public roads under real traffic conditions,” said Ericsson. “The testing will naturally include varying weather conditions, as well as remote takeover and human response.”

Read more about autonomous vehicles

This is part of a project launched by the Swedish government in 2015, known as Drive Sweden, which aims to bring together interested parties in developing road safety, adaptation of infrastructure and transport-related legislation.

The UK government is also planning for a driverless future. In 2016, Highways England, the agency responsible for managing England’s core A- and M-road network, published an innovation strategy setting out its goals for connected vehicles and driverless technology. It supported a government pledge to test fully autonomous cars on the motorway network in 2017.

People are also confident that autonomous vehicles will eventually become the norm. In an OpenText survey of 2,000 people last year, 42% of respondents were found to believe autonomous vehicles would make roads safer. The survey also found that two-thirds (66%) of people expected there to be more driverless cars on UK roads than normal cars within 15 years, with improved safety seen as a major advantage.

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