Recently, we have written about the dry runs on driverless taxis being done in Singapore. Apparently, the rest of the world is also working on putting driverless vehicles on the roads as part of their own mass transport systems.
The most recent addition to the countries doing test runs is Paris, France. The French capital started their own tests on driverless vehicles, mini buses to be precise, last September 24, 2016.
Long Term Goal
The driverless EZ10 minibus, powered by electricity, has the capacity to carry up to twelve travelers. These vehicles have previously been tested in Singapore, Japan, and California closed circuits. They have also been road tested in Helsinki.
The buses will travel at approximately 25 kilometres (15 miles) per hour along a special circuit where pedestrians are in a street running along the river Seine located within the capital. This will be the start of a series of tests for the RATP, the transport authority for the Paris region.
A second test run will be done in the French capital towards the end of the year where the EZ10 will be seen running the routes between two major transport hubs, the Austerlitz and the Lyon train stations.
The east-central French town of Lyon already carried out their own test on driverless minibus earlier in September. Apparently, the French government is now working on making these automated vehicles a part of the standard public transportation service with regular routes in the next two years.
Possible Applications and Implications
As the technology in this breakthrough area matures, there may be more benefits that we may not see at the moment (not a lot of us saw the potential in merging real time traffic user information with maps laid along a data network right?) but it is still a wonderful idea specially for a good percentage of our population who have grown up alongside the ripening of the digital age.
There will be a queue to check it out that is certain. However, when it will come to making sure that fail-safes are there, to ease one’s worry or maybe as simple as have a “man on the ground” opinion after arriving and taking a tour around the city or coming back home after being away for some time, having another person to talk to will definitely be a plus.
In this constant climate of change and technological improvement, where as a global society we are realizing a lot of dreams of advanced automation, there are some areas that will remain relevant since they are much richer with a complement of human interaction. A guided tour will always be remembered with the colour commentary of a person’s life in that place.
That thing called humanity
Exciting as all of this new technology may sound, our multi-cultural and multi-heritage backgrounds will always be eager for the stories that come with every experience. Stories best told by the people on the ground such as our fleet of Maxi cab, Mini buses and limousine service Singapore drivers. They are the ones who live their lives watching the world change. They are our instant storytellers and tour guides.
Their warm and welcoming smiles, the service that the can provide, the hospitality that you would experience from your pick up point to your destination are things that can never be replaced by a driverless vehicle.