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Next-gen self-driving buses will hit public roads next spring

Electric Self-Driving Buses

If you like Google’s cute self-driving car, then you’re probably going to appreciate the futuristic self-driving bus in the image above that’s going to start transporting passengers as soon as next year. Powered by BestMile tech, the bus has been approved for its first commercial deployment, with a pilot program set to kick off next spring in the city of Sion, Switzerland.

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The driverless electric bus will have room for 9 passengers and will operate for two years in the city of Sion, The Local reports. The program is a cooperation between PostBus and BestMile, a startup that makes the technology responsible for the actual navigation of these buses.

The busses will be in services in tourist zones in Sion’s Old Town. The city will use two Navya Arma buses, which can be seen in the video below, and they will run software created by BestMile.

Created by two Swiss Federal Institute of Technology graduates, BestMile develops software that lets them “control fleets of autonomous vehicles in the same way a control tower does in an airport.” BestMile worked with French company Nayva to install its technology in the Arma shuttles.

This is the first commercial use of BestMobile self-driving car technology, while Sion will be the first city in Switzerland operating driverless vehicles for public use.

“We have already participated in two big European projects but this is the first time a customer will use our platform,” BestMile’s Anne Koymans told The Local about the Sion pilot program, adding that the company is in talks with other potential customers.

“There is a lot of interest for driverless mobility solutions, partly thanks to Google,” she said. “Cities are interested but also public transport operators and the interest is increasing.”

A video showing the Arma bus in action follows below.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.