Autonomous bus trial planned by LA Transit Authority

Bus manufacturer New Flyer will donate 60 of its vehicles to the city of Los Angeles to test collision avoidance systems.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is spearheading a project to commence in 2020 that will test sensor-based collision avoidance systems designed for autonomous vehicles. Smart cameras and audio-visual modifications will be fitted to assist drivers by warning them of cyclists and pedestrians in close proximity to the vehicle, as well as blind-spot monitoring.

Of the 60 New Flyer buses involved in the programme, 40 will be fitted with systems from two different suppliers with the remaining 20 remaining unchanged as a control group.

Los Angeles has adopted the Vision Zero programme which aims to reduce deaths caused by traffic collisions to zero by the year 2025. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Federal Transportation Administration as well as the Minnesota-based New Flyer company.

Chris Stoddart, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Service for New Flyer said, “Buses are long vehicles, and they’re operating in an urban environment, so they don’t have the same manoeuvrability as a passenger car. Traveling in the right-hand lane, buses are by default always traveling in close proximity to pedestrians and cyclists. It makes a ton of sense to start exploring these types of technologies to hopefully reduce these sorts of incidents.”