Autonomous Bus



What if a bus could drive itself? Or a street sign could tell you whether you can make that left turn without getting hit? Those technologies are being developed and tested by U.C. Berkeley and Caltrans, reports KGO television.

This isn’t just any bus. This versatile bus can be driven by a system of magnets and computers.

“The computer decides what steering, braking, throttle is needed and sends it into a system and it does it for you,” explains Han-Shue Tan, Ph.d., PATH researcher.

The computerized system also allows for precision parking at loading docks — keeping passengers moving on and off efficiently. It’s just one of many projects underway at U.C. Berkeley’s Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways, or PATH research facility in Richmond. It is administered by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Their Freeway Performance Measurement System (PeMS) collects historical and real-time freeway data from freeways in the State of California in order to compute freeway performance measures. Other Transportation Research Sites include State and local transit systems, Department of Transportation sites, ITS at the University of Washington and ITS at Portland State University.

Coach Connect/Road Connect has installed rest area WiFi in, Texas, Oregon, Washington and Florida. They use a satellite-based system.

WSDOT hopes that the opportunity for wireless service will also foster safety on the road. By providing wireless Internet at the rest areas, travelers are now given another reason to pull off the highway and take a break instead of driving while fatigued. Right. Like those red light cameras.

Washington State’s Good to Go Program is an electronic toll taker for bridges. A small RFID badge adheres to the inside of a vehicle’s windshield and can be read by an antenna mounted over the roadway. It’s similar to EZPass and electronic toll systems in other states. Parsons will install Wi-Fi on the Washington State ferries.

The city of Bellevue, WA, has an online real-time traffic map that alerts drivers to congestion on city streets. “We believe we are the first city in Washington state to do it,” said Mark Poch, the city’s traffic engineering manager. Bellevue’s map (right), is similar to the popular online map provided by the real-time W-DOT freeway congestion maps.

Yahoo Traffic Maps are available on Mobile Devices while Google Maps for Mobile is also available on Smartphones like Treo. Windows Live Mobile also has traffic info. They get their info from Traffic.com. Search Engine Watch explains it all.

Related resources include the US Department of Transportation, State Transportation Web Sites, ITS DOT, ITS America, ITS On-Line, Bernie Wagenblast’s excellent Transportation Communications Newsletter, Techworld’s All about Wi-Fi location tracking, Telematicswire and Directions Magazine.

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Posted by Sam Churchill on .