Berlin’s little yellow driverless bus is back!
Berlin’s super-cute driverless bus is back on the streets after a six-month test phase. Three minibuses will drive through Alt-Tegel for 18 months.
Berlin’s yellow automated bus
Back in August last year, the Berlin transport association, BVG, introduced a little yellow bus onto the streets of Germany’s capital city. The bus, under the name “See-Meile,” carried passengers on the route from the Alt-Tegel U-Bahn station to the lake terraces on Tegeler See and back.
The bus can carry a total of six passengers and reach speeds of up to 12 kilometres an hour. While this isn't exactly a rip-roaring ride, the bus is the first of its kind to drive on the roads of Berlin, so give it the credit it deserves. It drives along a pre-programmed route without needing any help, but it is not fully autonomous. An assistant is on hand to drive the bus, should it encounter any obstacles.
Here to stay
After finishing its six-month testing phase, the Senate Department for Environment and Transport announced on Tuesday that the little yellow bus will back in operation in the summer. Just like in its testing phase, the bus will remain free of charge to passengers.
The buses will operate under a new name: “Shuttles & Co.” It will be co-run by the BVG, who will have attendants on board the buses, and supported by the Reinickendorf district and the Berliner Wasserbetriebe. The project will receive 9,8 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Transport in 2020 and 2021.
For 18 months, three minibuses will drive through Alt-Tegel towards the Greenwich Promenade on several routes. They will have a larger area of operation than they did when in their testing phase and their speed will be increased from 12 to 18 kilometres an hour.
Speaking ahead of the bus’s reintroduction to Berlin, Regine Günther, Senator for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, said, “Digitisation, networking and automation will also shape mobility in our cities for local public transport. We want to help shape the mobility of the future and gain experience on opportunities and risks."
Thumbnail: BVG/Diana Stein