Volvo demonstrates autonomous electric bus in Sweden

Volvo is demonstrating its new autonomous electric bus in Gothenburg, Sweden throughout the Volvo Ocean Race.

The prototype is based on Volvo’s commercially produced electric city bus, which has been modified for autonomous operation.

“With low noise level and emission-free operation, electric bus systems provide an excellent alternative for attractive and sustainable public transport,” says Håkan Agnevall, president of Volvo Buses.

“With various degrees of automation, we can make even further progress regarding safety, comfort and efficiency.”

The autonomous 12-metre bus is programmed to accelerate and brake gently and smoothly when starting off and stopping. At bus stops, the vehicle always halts in exactly the same position, maintaining the same gap between the bus and the platform.

Sensors are used to navigate the vehicle, and in future, says Volvo, will prevent incidents by identifying objects approaching the bus, adjusting its speed accordingly or stopping the bus.

“The technology also permits more efficient vehicle handling when the bus is not in traffic operation. With autonomous buses, depot staff can focus on service and maintenance instead of having to charge the batteries, drive to the bus wash and park the bus. Tomorrow’s buses will be able to do all this on their own,” adds Agnevall.

The autonomous bus will also be used for research into bus platooning.

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