The city of Helsinki, Finland, is testing its first batch of self-driving buses to mingle with everyday traffic. The EZ10 bus has transported Finns before, but only on a track separate from the unpredictable nature of city roads. This step will bring the world closer to ushering in driver-less public transportation everywhere.
“This is actually a really big deal right now,” Harri Santamala, the leader of the project told Finland-based Uutiset. ”There’s no more than a handful of these kinds of street traffic trials taking place, if that.” The EZ10, manufactured by EasyMile, will be hitting the roads thanks to Finland’s lax rules on cars being driven by a real, live person. CNET reports that this particular trial will end in mid-September.
The EZ10 successfully shuttled people to a housing fair in the city of Vantaa last year, yet the bus was kept separate from other traffic. Awe-struck passengers can be seen in the video commenting on how being chauffeured by a machine feels, albeit at the safe speed of 6 miles per hour.
Autonomous public transportation is ramping up all over the world. The semi-autonomous Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is being tested and Olli, the 3D printed self-driving bus, is ready to hit the streets just as soon as regulations allow. Future generations may look back at this time and wonder how we ever got around relying on human drivers.
Images via YouTube (screenshot)