In a move that is truly bringing Malaga into the 21st Century, and feels like a transport solution from the future, the first self-driving bus in the city will trial from Saturday 20th February. What’s more, between the 20th February and 13th March, residents of Malaga can experience a ride on the self-driving bus free of charge. Here’s everything you need to know about this innovative public transport scheme and what it means for the city:
What is a Self-Driving Bus?
The new self-driving bus is a 12 metre long electric vehicle, which features autonomous driving technology to enable the bus to operate without a driver. The bus was created as part of the AutoMOST R + D + I project in collaboration with Avanza bus company and Malaga City Council. The arrival of the bus was announced with much excitement and fanfare: The mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, the president of the Port of Malaga Authority, Carlos Rubio, and the general director of Avanza, Valentin Alonso were the first passengers to ride in the driverless bus, at the time of its official launch.
Mayor de la Torre said after he had taken his first ride of the bus: “Malaga has been a pioneer in creating ways to improve life in the city”....“We were also the first city to implement contactless cards on buses.”
What makes the self-driving bus special is that it will be the first of its kind that is permitted to operate in real traffic. The route it will follow is line 90: this journey goes from the Maritime Station in the port area to the Paseo del Parque in the front of the City Hall.
As well as being fully automated, the bus will also be environmentally friendly as it runs entirely on electricity, meaning that it will produce zero emissions. An appealing statistic for a city with an eye on reducing its emissions. Malaga will become the first European city to implement driverless buses, drawing the eyes of the world.
Malaga: A City Committed to Sustainability
In a statement released prior to the inaugral journey of the driverless bus, Malaga’s city council siad that this move reinforces Malaga’s commitment to sustainable mobility and the use of new technologies adapted to transport.
Self-driving test vehicles have never been implemented in standard 12-mere buses before, so being able to scale up the project to this size (which is the global standard size for city buses) means that Malaga could prove to be an innovative leader, showing the way for other countries to implement this same type of technology in other models of the same size around the world. In order for the technology to work, Malaga City Council has invested 180,000 euros in smart traffic lights, which communicate with the bus telling it when to go and stop.
Initially the self-driving bus will undergo a test run for three weeks, but the new smart traffic lights will remain in place, enabling the implementation of other self-driving systems in the future, such as driverless cars.
Riding the Driverless Bus
Interested in giving the driverless bus a go, and being one of the world’s first passengers to experience this kind of technology? Then you’re in luck! For the next three weeks, residents of Malaga can ride the self-driving bus completely free of charge.
The bus will operate from Saturday February 20th to March 13th, from Tuesdays to Saturdays 9:30am to 2:30pm. You can book a ticket on the bus in advance by visiting www.emtmalaga.es and experience this new technology first hand.
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