by , 01/31/07


Like something plucked right out of a 1960’s sci-fi flick, the model of a Driverless bus wowed visitors at the Science Museum in London – where it is currently on exhibit – with its claims of reducing air pollution and traffic congestion, wrapped up in a slick, futuristic package.

The brainchild of Alan Ponsford, a lead designer for British bus engineering company Capoco Design, the design and concept for the bus was dreamt up in collaboration with the Royal College of Art. Running on a combination of bio-diesel and electricity, the extraterrestrial-like ‘pod’ reportedly utilizes state-of-the-art technology to ‘sniff’ out magnets embedded in the roads in order to navigate through the main routes before maneuvering onto residential areas. Using a mobile phone, one would be able to hail the bus and direct it towards a location of their choice. The bus would not only reduce operating costs by up to 50 percent, it would also enable a more time-efficient means of public transport.

Capoco plans to release a prototype next year and, if all goes as planned, the Driverless bus should be available commercially in about three years.

+ Electric Driverless bus

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  1. Lynn February 9, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    It looks pretty and sleek, but are we sure this won’t wreak havoc on the streets while it’s sniffing out the magnets? Will it be able to follow traffic rules and regulations, and stop at traffic lights? Hmm…

  2. mod*mom February 2, 2007 at 4:40 am

    very interesting

  3. Someone January 31, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Airport or campus vehicle, yes. Interstate or main city hub vehicle, no. Who’s liable in an accident? Reliance upon magnets and sensors won’t mix reliably within human-enabled traffic chaos. This would need it’s own designated lane, or more. Good fuel option though.

  4. LaLaFromLA January 31, 2007 at 9:10 am

    It drives along the road and navigates by sniffing magnets.


    Imagine a big performance art project.

    Imagine some artist takes a petri dish full of iron filings to a few of those magnets in the street and figures out how they’re polarized or if they’re coded in some way. Next imagine the artist going back to his or her art studio to assemble some magnets of a similar type. Last but not least, let’s imagine our artist getting some nice strong epoxy and gluing a whole bunch of those special magnets onto the roads. Perhaps in a pattern that spells something funny, like “Daisy, daisy, give me your answer, do.”

    Then imagine a video camera linked to a live webcast. And then we can watch the silly busses go round and round in circles, whilst their passengers get on and off wondering what the boody hell is happening.

    Hey be glad it’s only an art project, and not a terrorist group doing something awful like making them run into each other or drive into buildings. With ideas like driverless buses being passed off as green, when the only green in the picture is the money going into someone’s pocket after they fire all the bus drivers, we have to keep a sense of humour now, don’t we?

    (DISCLAIMER: the above is not a suggestion or an incitement, but merely a humourous way of exposing a terrible security flaw in a terrible idea.)

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