An electric bus that can travel upwards of 350 miles on a charge sounds difficult, but Proterra is already beyond that, looking to now go autonomous. Their buses are operating in Reno, Nevada, and will start getting self-driving accessories soon.
In conjunction with the University of Nevada, the project is a long term strategy. Sensors and cameras will be added to the manned buses first, data gets analyzed and eventually, one day, full autonomy will be worked in and take over. Except not full autonomy, this is a job that project managers believe can never be taken over fully by a robot.
Self-driving vehicles are not without their difficulties, just ask Uber, but navigating the roads is certainly possible for computing systems today. Even a large bus can be navigated without much concern, it is the human element that will require the human driver, says Proterra.
Laws for public transportation, including the Americans with Disabilities act, all but make it necessary for a human to be present to help those in need. That says nothing for the safety, information and rule enforcement that a driver provides.
Are you ready to hop on an electric bus that drives itself, with or without a driver acting as flight attendant?