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Xianghu Lake scenic area introduces autonomous minibuses

www.ehangzhou.gov.cn| Updated: February 2, 2024 L M S


Unmanned buses drive down a street during trial operations in Xianghu Lake Scenic Area. [Photo/IC]

Two autonomous minibuses were recently put into trial operation at the Xianghu Lake Scenic Area in Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou.

The vehicles are poised to commence operations in early April this year, with a maximum capacity of nine passengers per bus.

The dashboard at the driver's seat has been replaced by a large smart screen that provides real-time feedback on information such as the vehicle's speed, route, and road conditions. It is also equipped with advanced lidar and camera systems, enabling panoramic scanning with a maximum detection distance of up to 50 meters.

When encountering curves and slopes, the bus will automatically adjust its direction and speed. When overtaking, it will promptly sense its distance from other vehicles and initiate a safe deceleration. After parking, the bus will maintain a distance of 3 to 4 m from the vehicle in front of it.

"The buses, powered by advanced deep learning algorithms, can process sensor data in real-time, accurately assess the surrounding environment, identify obstacles such as pedestrians, vehicles, and road signs, and make appropriate driving decisions based on real-time road conditions, thereby achieving safe and efficient unmanned driving," said an insider. "The built-in navigation system provides precise positioning and route planning to ensure the bus reaches its proper destination."


An unmanned bus drives down the street – with no driver. [Photo/IC]

The safety officer on the bus, a man surnamed Miao, said he is required to be on duty for a total of five hours every day. Although he does not drive the vehicle during the journey, he still needs to closely watch the real-time information on the vehicle and observe the driving environment. If the bus experiences issues, he can take manual control.

The buses are currently undergoing trial operations in Xianghu Lake Scenic Area, with a 12-km route passing through nine stations in about half an hour. The buses are expected to operate on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm.

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