Paris presented its first driverless shuttle buses which will take passengers from the Gare de Lyon train station to the Austerlitz station in central Paris. It is one of several cities around the world to test the new technology.
Why is Paris introducing driverless buses?
The city has been struggling with smog and wants to promote cleaner modes of transport.
The fully electric bus called EZ10 can carry about 10 people. They were conceived and built entirely in France.
A combination of lasers and cameras fitted on the buses will be used to detect objects and people around them while they will be operating within the safety of a special lane.
“This vehicle will adapt to its surrounding environment and adapt to pedestrians crossing in front of it so it will either slow down or even an emergency breaking procedure, were someone to jump in front of it,” said Marion Lheritier from Easymile, the company behind the autonomous system installed on the bus.
The driverless buses currently operational will take passengers from Paris’ Gare de Lyon train station to Austerlitz train station in central Paris.
The public will be able to use the service for free until April 7.
Are there driverless bus in the world?
The world’s first driverless bus was introduced in the French city of Lyon in September.
Two electric minibuses were tested operating a five stop route in the city centre. They can carry up to 15 passengers.
The vehicles have been tested without passengers in other countries such as Switzerland, and a trial is under way in Dubai.
How bad is air pollution in Paris?
In 2015, Paris ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the world, even if for a brief moment.
A study by France’s National Health agency found that air pollution kills 48,000 people each year.
In December 2016, Paris authorities imposed traffic restrictions to tackle the issue.
On Monday, the city also launched a new colour-coded sticker scheme to restrict car use in its latest attempt to curb air pollution many Parisians blame for coughing fits, eye irritation and runny noses.
What are the bus drivers saying?
For now there are no complaints and Paris’ mayor said the city was looking at ways to create job opportunities for the drivers.
“We need to start thinking from today about how to train drivers so they can shift into the new jobs created by autonomous vehicles,” Missika, who is a transport expert in the mayor’s office, said.
In October, delivery drivers got a glimpse of the future when a self-driving truck built by Uber’s Otto unit delivered a beer shipment.
The shuttles will not replace the many buses in service in the French capital.