Autonomous bus “lost” on its first day of operation

The inauguration of driverless buses in the city of Inverness, Scotland was delayed by several hours after one of them got lost shortly before their launch event.

More specifically, the autonomous bus – nicknamed Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Driverless Machiney – was stuck in place for more than an hour, and representatives from regional transport body Hitrans and bus company Stagecoach tried to move it during the official opening ceremony service at 11 a.m.

However, technical problems in the software meant the bus’s computer, which travels a 1.8-mile (2.9km) route through the Inverness campus and the city’s retail park, had no idea where it was.

Two of the three malfunctions were fixed, but the third required more work, and at 12:45 a.m., the operators decided to take the wheel of the bus. Stagecoach driver Iain Craven, one of three trained to operate the bus, said:

There’s a problem with the bus’s LiDAR, which basically means laser-enhanced radar. He can’t figure out exactly where he is right now. Everything else seems to work fine. It had to happen today, of all days. It couldn’t have been yesterday when he was here for more than six hours doing the tests.

The Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Driverless Machiney can carry up to 15 passengers and is the first of its kind in Scotland. The electric bus is from Nayva and is taught a route and uses sensors and cameras to help navigate it as it moves along the route.

Just in case, though, there’s always a person on board for any issue, with the bus offering its services for free on a trial basis until March.

Source: by

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