Driverless bus faces ‘unique challenges’

DRIVERLESS buses on Guernsey roads could improve the efficiency of the island’s transport network and give islanders more choice, a member of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure has said.

Driverless Bus images supplied by Jenny Ozanne
A computer-generated image of a Shuttlebuzz vehicle outside the airport.

Lindsay De Sausmarez was speaking after local company ShuttleBuzz Ltd said that it wanted to bring driverless buses to the island and is hoping to raise funding to enable a feasibility study to take place and later to bring a test vehicle over.

‘Guernsey presents some unique challenges for this emerging technology, but it also presents some unique opportunities – assuming that the safety of passengers and all other road users can first be assured,’ said Deputy De Sausmarez.

‘It’s also important that we also understand how any new service will impact on our existing transport services. But generally speaking, anything that improves access to efficient, affordable and convenient transport in and around the island is to be welcomed.’

The company has said that it does not see its vehicles competing with the existing bus service, but complementing it, and Deputy De Sausmarez said such a service could reduce dependency on cars and thus the pressure on the island’s road infrastructure and parking spaces.

Comments for: "Driverless bus faces ‘unique challenges’"

Roger Irrelevant

"Base to driverless bus, base to driverless bus

You are parked on the pedestrian crossing, I repeat, you are parked on the pedestrian crossing, over..."

pyer

Just give the driver a fixed penalty ticket then.

Oh wait!! ................

RobB

Not sure I will see driverless buses in Guernsey within my lifetime. If we had the space for a dedicated lane (aka a modern day tram) then maybe sooner but we don't have much of that available.

Not even driverless cars or not until the first accident happens with one!

If car manufacturers can get them to work here then they would work anywhere but I think the technology is just not there yet to replace a human driver....though for some people's standard of driving it would probably be an improvement!

At least I hope they would programme them to use indicators, dip the lights, not use front and rear fogs when it's not fogging.

HBC

The problem is that the technology isn't there yet, its too expensive, and is simply not designed for our road system. Of course anything is possible but at a huge cost that.

The project is dead in the water before it's even begun.

markB

I think they would be fine for trips around town, but out to the country

and they would be stuffed, especially if Mr Le Page's cows came down the lane

or he was in his tractor with a trailer.

And lets face it almost everyone goes over the speed limit a bit, these things will have to keep well within the law, so there would be tails backs behind them.

Why

As said in a previous article, Guernsey is the ideal place to use as a testbed for new technologies such as driverless vehicles.

Eric

That a Deputy is wasting time on this utterly ridiculous.

Could driverless buses help with the island's transport issues? Yes, of course.

Will an economically viable solution, which dovetails with an updated legislative framework, be available in the next decade? Of course not.

Should elected representatives be following up every speculative enquiry / 'proposal' thrown at the island by fledgeling companies? Of course not, there are real issues to resolve that are, unfortunately, less glamorous than cutting-edge transport technology but still desperately require resolution. Please focus on those.

markB

Good point Eric..

They need to get the buses we have running properly before going all Star Trek on us.

Fortune Teller

Welcome to the 6 seat WePod (fully operational top speed 15 mph), currently being developed and tested by Delft University of Technology. It has just been launched for trial on "public roads", but is basically driving around a fixed route with stops on the University campus. To date, a more limited trial ran at a top speed of 5 mph and required a trained "steward" to supervise the vehicle and passengers.

In short, this rather limited mobile box is a work in progress and most certainly does NOT require a feasibility study. A brief desk top analysis would have swiftly revealed that this vehicle is barely road ready and would prove to be a rolling congestion hazard if it was unleashed on Guernsey roads in the near future.

The small group of supporters behind this project, which now apparently include Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, really should have done their homework before seeking publicity. At this point, I would not recommend a single penny of tax payer's money being spent on this, although private companies are free to act how they wish.

Although "driverless" vehicles will become the norm in due course, at this point in time there is a wide variation in the definition of driverless/ autonomous. Vehicles capable of navigating safely around Guernsey's highways and by-ways are some way down the track. This particular creation would probably be best utilised for cutting out the walk to Castle Cornet. Hold tight please. Ding. Ding.

Alvin

Totally agree with the comments of Fortune Teller.

What I do not understand is why this idea is getting so much free publicity in the Press and now is getting the interest of certain Deputies.

The project instigators are looking for investors - will the States be foolish enough to be one of those ? I hope not. Let the technology first be well developed and tried out in other locations before thinking about even doing any studies. Think about the infrastructure that will have to be introduced, the manpower needed to control tickets ( or will the bus service become free of charge ) and other matters.

Would love the developers of this idea to appear on Dragons Dens and see what sort of reception they could get ! Which sane investor would invest in a concept that will take decades to develop before the investment starts being paid back !

Dogwatch

This story should have been embargoed until 1st April!