The world’s biggest bus
manufacturer, Daimler Buses, continues to make rapid progress in modern day
technology. The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot has driven autonomously
for the first time on a route of approximately 20 kilometers in Amsterdam. On a
section of the longest bus rapid transit (BRT) line in Europe, the bus drives
at speeds up to 70 km/h, stops to the nearest centimeter at bus stops and
traffic lights, drives off again automatically, passes through tunnels, brakes
for obstacles or pedestrians and communicates with traffic signals. The driver
is on board and monitors the system, but with a much easier task than before.
Daimler Buses is the world’s first manufacturer to put a city bus into
automated operation in a real-life traffic situation.
Daimler Buses will invest
approximately Euros 200 million in the further development of its city-bus
portfolio by 2020
CityPilot for autonomous driving: fascinating technology enhances
safety, efficiency and comfort
The first step towards fully
automated driving with buses in urban traffic consists of BRT lines with
separate lanes. The Future Bus recognizes whether the route is suitable for
automated driving and informs the driver accordingly. The bus driver then
presses a button and CityPilot is activated. One condition is that the driver
does not press the accelerator or brake pedal and does not steer, because any
driver activity overrules CityPilot – the driver is always in charge of driving
and can take over at any time. CityPilot comprises current assistance systems,
those used in
Mercedes-Benz coaches for
example, as well as additional systems, some of which have been taken over from
Daimler Trucks and further developed for urban traffic. The equipment includes
long- and short-range radar, a large number of cameras and the
satellite-controlled GPS navigation system. The intelligent connectivity of the
cameras and sensors is pioneering, and allows a precise picture of the
surroundings and the exact position of the bus.
On the road in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot
Take Amsterdam as an example:
signals from special traffic lights ahead of the bus. Two red lights next to
each other mean stop, two white lights one above the other mean go ahead. The
white lights come on and the bus starts gently and follows its lane. CityPilot
recognizes the traffic lights with its sophisticated camera system. In
addition, the vehicle communicates via Wi-Fi with the route infrastructure,
receiving information on traffic-light status. This means that the bus can take
advantage of a “green wave” of traffic lights. Two bridges, a tunnel. The bus
safely stays in its lane. After leaving the built-up area, it accelerates to
the allowed 70 km/h. The maximum speed is programmed; even at this speed the
driver does not steer. The bus arrives at the bus stop in automated mode. It
stops, opens and closes the doors, and drives away again. Red lights ahead; the
bus independently brakes gently and comes to a standstill safely. While the
lights are changing, pedestrians are still crossing the road. The bus waits,
lets them cross, and does not drive away until the road is clear. In order to
avoid a collision, CityPilot has an automatic braking system that decelerates
the vehicles as required.
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus
with CityPilot therefore significantly enhances road safety. Thanks to its
anticipatory driving style, it improves efficiency, puts less stress on the
engine and reduces fuel consumption and emissions. And with its smooth, fluent
progress, it also enhances passenger comfort.
With this technology, Daimler
Buses is following the development path of Daimler Trucks, which will bring
Highway Pilot to series maturity by the end of the decade. Daimler Buses will
develop bus-specific aspects of the CityPilot system towards series application
independently – like driving to and away from bus stops.
Systematic work on future generations of city buses
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus
with CityPilot as a technology carrier will supply Daimler Buses with findings
for this systematic further development of the city bus of the future. That
will focus on emission-free drive systems, the further development of
driver-assistance systems and the partial automation of driving functions
(given the appropriate legal framework), the connectivity of bus and
infrastructure such as BRT operating systems, and the electric/electronic
A more attractive city bus with a revolutionary design
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus
is much more than just a technology carrier for autonomous driving: For this
city bus, the Daimler Buses team has developed a specific, attractive vision
for public transport that breaks with many conventions. The roughly twelve
meter long solo bus on the basis of the global bestseller Citaro goes
completely new ways in terms of design. For example, it appeals with an
asymmetrical and thus more modern and attractive exterior design. The interior is
open and light. The completely low-floor bus is divided into three areas: The
“service” area is at the front near the driver; the “express” area for short
journeys with a focus on standing room and quick passenger flow is in the
middle. Behind that is a “lounge” area where passengers spend more time. Their
smartphones can be charged wirelessly, inductively that is. The completely
redesigned cockpit is an integrated part of the whole space. The driver
receives the required information on a large display in an innovative
presentation style, and can concentrate fully on his or her core tasks. An
electronic ticket system dispenses with the conventional selling and checking
of tickets by the driver. The ticket system is an important element of the
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