Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot
20.07.2016 - 01:00

German version

Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot – a milestone on the way to the autonomous city bus, and a revolutionary mobility system for the future
  • CityPilot: a milestone on the way to autonomous driving in urban public transport
  • Mercedes-Benz Future Bus: spectacular technology platform with a trailblazing design
  • CityPilot: fascinating technology improves safety, efficiency and comfort
  • 20 km journey without steering, accelerating and without brake pedal

Megacities, traffic gridlock, environmental problems – the hot topics are the same on every continent. Under these circumstances, people's need for mobility to attend work and school and take recreation, cannot be met by private transport alone. Daimler as a mobility provider has a number of possible solutions. A major one is a range of buses, especially when used as a complete, individually coordinated transport system for urban environments. What urban public transport will look like in the future is shown by the semi-automated city bus with CityPilot – it operates even more safely, efficiently and comfortably than conventional buses. Connectivity plus camera and radar systems with data fusion are catapulting the city bus into the future. Mercedes-Benz is showing this spectacular technology on an equally spectacular technology platform, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot. Together they set a milestone, both in the history of the bus and on the way to autonomous and accident-free driving. Daimler is the leading manufacturer of vehicles with automated driving functions. With the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, Daimler Buses is now presenting its very specific idea of a city bus of tomorrow.

Benefits for passengers, drivers and operators in equal measure

The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot further enhances the attractiveness of the city bus as a means of transport. This above all applies to passengers, but also to drivers and bus operators. All three groups benefit from a revolutionary design and trailblazing technology. The bus becomes one with its environment, both in terms of its exterior and interior design and of the technology employed as it moves along its dedicated line and communicates with its surroundings.

CityPilot: fascinating technology improves safety, efficiency and comfort

The technology of the CityPilot in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is based on that of the autonomously driving Mercedes-Benz Actros truck with Highway Pilot presented two years ago. It has however undergone substantial further development specifically for use in a city bus, with numerous added functions. The CityPilot is able to recognise traffic lights, communicate with them and safely negotiate junctions controlled by them. It can also recognise obstacles, especially pedestrians on the road, and brake autonomously. It approaches bus stops automatically, where it opens and closes its doors. And not least, it is able to drive through tunnels.

Just under a dozen cameras scan the road and surroundings, while long and short-range radar systems constantly monitor the route ahead. There is also a GPS system. Thanks to data fusion, all the data received create an extremely precise picture and allow the bus to be positioned to within centimetres. This already works in practice, as demonstrated by the world premiere of the CityPilot on an exacting route covering almost 20 km, with a number of tight bends, tunnels, numerous bus stops and involving high speeds for a city bus.

This semi-automated city bus improves safety, as it relieves its driver's workload and nothing remains hidden from its cameras and radar systems. It improves efficiency, as its smooth, predictive driving style saves wear and tear while lowering fuel consumption and emissions. With its smooth and even rate of travel it also improves the comfort of its passengers.

Mercedes-Benz Future Bus: spectacular technology platform with a trailblazing design

The CityPilot is presented in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus as a technology platform. The around twelve metre long solo bus based on the globally best-selling Citaro is a completely new departure in terms of exterior and interior design. Its harmonious lines and asymmetrical contours take their lead from city architecture. Whether with its design, lighting, door layout or information systems – the unique Mercedes-Benz Future Bus fully lives up to its name.

The same applies to the interior, the open-plan design of which takes its lead from city squares and parks. The passenger compartment is truly a passenger's dream. It is divided into three zones for different lengths of stay. Designer seats are loosely arranged along the walls in each zone. Innovative grab rails reflect the park-like theme by branching upwards like trees towards the two-tone ceiling. The ceiling lighting resembles a leaf canopy. Operators are able to relay information and entertainment via large monitors in the middle segment of the passenger compartment. The completely newly designed cockpit is an integral part of the interior space. The driver receives the information he/she requires from a large screen with an innovative display.

20 km journey without steering, accelerating and without brake pedal

The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot is making its first public journey on part of Europe's longest BRT route (BRT = Bus Rapid Transit) in the Netherlands. This links Amsterdam's Schiphol airport with the town of Haarlem. This almost 20 km long route is a real challenge for the
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, as it has numerous bends and passes through tunnels and across junctions with traffic lights.

The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot is well able to meet this challenge: it has a top speed of 70 km/h on the open road, is able to recognise obstacles and pedestrians on the road, comes to a precise halt at bus stops, opens and closes its doors, moves off automatically and communicates with traffic light systems. Throughout the journey the driver does not need to operate the accelerator or brake at all, and only needs to take the wheel in accordance with traffic regulations when there is oncoming traffic. However, the driver is able to intervene at any time and immediately take control if required.

Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot – the future of the city bus has begun. It is ideally suitable for BRT systems, with which it is possible to resolve worldwide traffic problems in densely populated areas and metropolitan regions. It operates highly efficiently, significantly improves the level of safety and relieves driver workload. Daimler Buses is thereby developing the bus transport system of tomorrow.

Ten cameras in different systems with a wide range of purposes, long and short-range radar systems, fusion of the resulting data and reconciliation with stored values, networking with traffic light systems and an automatic braking system – these are the technical requirements of the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot for semi-automated driving on BRT routes. The CityPilot is another milestone reached by Mercedes-Benz on the road to autonomous driving. The CityPilot is based on the Highway Pilot of the Mercedes-Benz Actros, however it exceeds the latter's capabilities to meet the needs of its specific area of operation: new functions include traffic light recognition, pedestrian recognition, centimetric precision when halting at bus stops and the ability to drive semi-autonomously in tunnels. In this way the bus becomes one with its environment not only with its design, but also with the technology it uses to move along its line and communicate with its surroundings.

BRT lines are ideal for autonomous driving

Always the same route on a separate line or track, a clearly defined timetable, defined and identical actions at bus stops: regular service city buses on BRT lines (BRT = Bus Rapid Transit) are ideal for autonomous driving. Both in the truck and passenger car sectors, Mercedes-Benz is the leader in taking steps on the way towards autonomous driving. Transferring this comprehensive know-how to the regular city service bus sector is therefore logical.

Bus operation is however subject to certain special circumstances – this is why the technology cannot simply be adopted from other vehicle systems, but must rather be developed further in the important aspects and where necessary also supplemented regarding the specific operating conditions. This applies to typical traffic situations such as traffic lights and pedestrian recognition, vehicles ahead in the same lane, passing through tunnels, negotiating junctions controlled by traffic lights, stopping and departing from bus stops and automatic opening and closing of passenger doors.

CityPilot – a highly specialised and unique technical feature

The specific operating conditions for a city bus therefore require equally specific technical equipment for autonomous driving – the cost and effort required for monitoring the road and the surroundings is extraordinarily high. Mercedes-Benz can however fall back on extensive experience with the Future Truck. This includes features such as long-range radar with a range of up to 200 m, electrically actuated Servotwin steering and the mirrorcams instead of exterior mirrors. Also familiar is the lane-tracking camera, which is used for the Lane Keeping Assist systems in other Mercedes-Benz buses and trucks. A further lane-tracking camera is used as an additional safeguard.

There are no less than four short-range radar sensors – two in the front section and two at the front corners – to cover distances from 50 centimetres to ten metres ahead of the bus. Two stereo cameras with a range of up to 50 metres allow 3D vision and recognition of obstacles and pedestrians.

Precise positioning with centimetric accuracy

Precise positioning of the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is ensured by the satellite supported location system GPS, the lane-tracking cameras and four cameras for global visual location. These cameras are installed at front axle level high up on the sides, monitoring the surroundings and comparing them with images pre-stored in memory. Their purpose is to ensure exact positioning, and they are guided by waypoints. They operate to an accuracy of eight centimetres and are also used in illuminated tunnels. Such cameras were first used three years ago, for the autonomous journey of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class on the Bertha-Benz Memorial Route.

Two further close-range cameras are directed vertically downwards at the front sides. These recognise the pattern of the asphalt road surface like a fingerprint, and likewise compare this continuously with previously stored images of the route. And finally there are three cameras recording the journey. They record both the movements of the bus and the actions of the driver.

In this way a complex process of sensor fusion creates a precise picture of the local environment, with the exact position of the bus in its immediate surroundings. This means that it moves along its lane with centimetric precision. More precisely than a driver could ever hope to achieve manually in day-to-day operation.

Networking technical data with the traffic light infrastructure along the route ensures early recognition of each traffic light status, thus allowing a predictive, consistent and as a result more fuel-efficient driving style than is possible by conventional means.

Semi-automated driving thanks to networking – a new dimension

The result is a new dimension in the efficiency of the bus as a means of transport, thanks to networking with its environment: the bus covers its entire route semi-automatically, without the driver having to operate the accelerator or brake, or even the passenger door controls – an enormous relief in regular service operation. Strictly speaking, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus operates at level two of the five defined levels on the way to autonomous driving – semi-automation with lane-keeping function, longitudinal guidance, acceleration and braking by assistance systems.

Intensive tests have verified safety and practical relevance

The development engineers have intensively tested the CityPilot both in test vehicles based on the Citaro and in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, including numerous test journeys on selected routes in closed-off areas. The world premiere in the Netherlands, on Airport Line 300 between Amsterdam and Haarlem, was also preceded by intensive tests.

One thing is therefore certain: the Mercedes-Benz CityPilot is not science fiction, it can already become a reality tomorrow. Even today, the bus is in public operation following an exemption from the state transport authority in Stuttgart according to Section 70 of the German vehicle licensing regulations, based on an expert report by TÜV Rhineland. It is allowed to operate on public roads despite deviating from the normal technical and service specifications.

World premiere on Airport Line 300 in Amsterdam

The CityPilot will celebrate its world public premiere in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus technology platform, on Airport Line 300 in the Netherlands. This links the Dutch metropolis of Amsterdam with Amsterdam's Schiphol airport and the town of Haarlem. The route has a total length of 37.8 km, making it Western Europe's longest BRT line.

For the world premiere of the CityPilot, Mercedes-Benz is using the 19 km stretch from Amsterdam-Schiphol airport to Haarlem. This has eleven stops, with a driving time of around 30 minutes. Depending on the time of day, the cycle time on this line is six to ten minutes. On average, Airport Line 300 is used by over 125 000 passengers each day, and it is operated by the Dutch transport company Connexxion.

The route profile of Airport Line 300 is demanding: the bends are sometimes very tight, and the oncoming traffic lane is not physically separated. The route also has 22 traffic lights, three tunnels and includes high speeds of up to 70 km/h. The bus stops are raised, allowing passengers to enter the buses conveniently at ground level.

Large image of the route plan as PDF
Semi-automated driving with the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus – how the CityPilot works in practice

At the first bus stop on the BRT line, the driver presses a button to switch to semi-automated mode. He/she can then release the steering wheel and pedals – the bus now moves of its own accord. It moves off automatically and accelerates to a speed of up to 70 km/h. It remains precisely in the middle of its 3.1 m wide lane, with a deviation to the left or right of at most 20 cm even at maximum speed – this is far less than a driver can manage manually for a longer period. In illuminated tunnels, even with no GPS signal, the bus safely takes its guidance from its surroundings via global, visual location cameras.

When the bus approaches a bus stop, it stops fully automatically if required. At this slower speed it moves along its prescribed line to an accuracy of two centimetres, thanks to its high-precision systems. When stopping, the bus with CityPilot maintains a very small distance of only five centimetres from the kerb. This allows convenient entry and exit, even for passengers with restricted mobility or parents with pushchairs. The doors open and close automatically at bus stops, then the bus moves off again.

Fuel-savings and a smoothly flowing driving style thanks to networking

Traffic lights en route are no obstacle to the bus with CityPilot, as it knows the traffic lights on its line. Being networked with the traffic light, the bus can influence its status and obtain 'green lights' all the way. If the wireless connection to the traffic light is interrupted, the bus uses visual recognition.

Conversely, the traffic light communicates with the bus and tells it when it is about to change. The bus then automatically adjusts its speed to the situation. The result is a highly efficient and smooth driving style. It noticeably reduces fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions, saves wear and tear and is also very passenger-friendly by virtue of the smooth ride.

Automatic braking when encountering obstacles and pedestrians on the road

Thanks to its radar and camera technology, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot is able to recognise obstacles and pedestrians. It can identify pedestrians crossing its lane, for example. In such a case, the bus automatically initiates braking action. Additional function: at the end of a stop it does not accelerate away from the bus stop if pedestrians are crossing its path.

There is no automatic emergency braking function, out of consideration for standing passengers and those seated without a seat belt. If necessary, the driver can however take control of the vehicle at any time and take emergency braking action. The driver anyway has full responsibility at all times.

From the track-guided bus and the O-Bahn Busway to the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus

Mercedes-Benz has been a pioneer in autonomous driving in sophisticated city bus and BRT systems for decades. One of the precursors to the networked electronic systems of today's CityPilot was the track-guided bus from Mercedes-Benz. Presented in 1979, it has operated in the city of Essen since 1980. In this city bus with mechanical track guidance, side-mounted guide rollers on the wheels run along guide rails – the driver can release the steering wheel when on the move. In subsequent years the network in Essen was expanded, with track-guided buses even sharing tracks in tunnels with trams in some instances. A further track-guided bus line was operational in Mannheim from 1992 to 2005.

From 1979, at its plant site in Rastatt, Mercedes-Benz operated electrified track-guided bus routes for buses with both mechanical and electronic track guidance using a guide cable recessed into the road surface. The route included a bridge and a tunnel, as well as a fast stretch for speeds of up to 100 km/h. There was also a one-off vehicle in operation: a double articulated bus with a length of 24 metres in two-way operation.

Another great pioneering achievement by Mercedes-Benz is the so-called
O-Bahn Busway in Australia. It links the city of Adelaide with suburbs. Initially set up as a test route in the early 1980s, it began to carry passengers in 1988. In peak periods the buses operated with cycle times of just under one minute and reached speeds of up to 100 km/h. The O-Bahn in Adelaide is still in operation today, and is even being expanded.

Mercedes-Benz Future Bus as a technology platform: from the passenger compartment to the passenger's dream, the revolutionary exterior and interior design
  • Exterior: Unique symbiosis of form and function
  • Interior: From the passenger compartment to the passenger's dream
  • Cockpit: Innovative driver area as part of the interior

As a technology platform, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus sends out unmistakable messages about the attractive local public transport of the future, and invites its passengers to enjoy a fascinating driving experience. Its design intentionally breaks with conventions, and is based on new approaches. The result is completely new design solutions. These benefit passengers, the driver and bus operators. The ready-to-drive city bus offers its passengers maximum comfort, functionality and information, gives its driver a radically simplified cockpit and benefits bus operators with rapid passenger flows. Both the exterior and interior designs are inspired by architecture, and the interior also revolutionises the use of space. Despite its futuristic design full of trailblazing ideas, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus relies on well-proven large-scale production technology for the bodyshell, powertrain and suspension: it is based on the platform of today's most popular city bus, the globally best-selling Mercedes-Benz Citaro.

Innovative design of city buses has a long tradition at Mercedes-Benz

With its innovative exterior and interior design, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus systematically continues on a path which Mercedes-Benz has successfully taken with the Citaro for decades. Around 20 years ago, the first generation of the Citaro set new standards in exterior and interior design. Major features such as the A0-pillar, generous glazed areas and the passenger-friendly interior with wall-mounted cantilever seating and curved, vertical grab rails gave birth to a completely new design line for city buses. This has established itself worldwide, and been widely imitated.

The version of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro for the city of Hanover during
Expo 2000 and for Leipzig shows how individual this series production city bus can be in appearance. The first and second generations of the large CapaCity articulated buses with the Metrobus design package, as well as versions of the Citaro G articulated bus for cities such as Nantes and Strasbourg, are further examples of heavily individualised city buses with a highly attractive exterior and interior.

With its friendly face, harmoniously flowing lines, a low beltline and dynamically styled, three-dimensional wheel arches, the current Mercedes-Benz Citaro likewise shows how attractive a regular service bus can be.

Exterior: Unique symbiosis of form and function

However, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is more radical than its predecessor, and intentionally breaks with conventions and standard design and spatial concepts for city buses. It was created from a blank sheet of paper. The result: the exterior and interior design is an extraordinary symbiosis of form and function.

The front section impresses with its clear layout. Below the windscreen the Mercedes star as a trademark is the centrepiece. Two white light bars extend from it to each side. In view of their shape, the designers refer to these as "paddles". Their illumination in white (manual) and blue (semi-automated) indicates the current driving status of the bus.

At the top the windscreen transitions into a compact destination indicator. A panel covers the area above the driver. This design touch symbolises the fact that the driver on board this semi-automated city bus only plays a diminished role behind the wheel. The technology platform dispenses with conventional exterior mirrors in favour of camera systems, so-called mirrorcams.

In its basic form the low side wall takes its lead from the current Citaro. This is made obvious by the dynamically styled wheel arches, for example. The side walls have a silver paint finish, as has the roof panelling. This covers the roof-mounted equipment and ensures an integrated appearance. The cladding panels are intentionally asymmetrical in design. They are inspired by forms found in urban architecture, but are also strictly functional. For example, an exterior facing on the windows of the left side covers the info-terminal on the inside.

Two double doors in the centre speed up passenger flows

The door arrangement of the city bus is also a departure from convention. Like the entire bus, it has been rethought. The usual doors facing the cockpit and behind the rear axle are omitted - instead passengers enter and leave the bus via two double-width doors between the axles.

These doors are marked with luminescent bands on the outside – green means entry, red means exit – to speed up passenger flows in the standing zone between the axles. This therefore becomes the "main traffic zone" in the city bus, as this is where the majority of passengers only covering short distances will congregate. At the same time this calms the other areas in the interior – a benefit for passengers spending longer on board.

An electronic ticket system makes the usual ticket control by the driver unnecessary. The ticket system is a major part of the vehicle's connectivity – the driver is able to concentrate on key activities rather than selling and checking tickets.

At the same time e-ticketing considerably speeds up passenger flows, which means shorter stopping times at bus stops and faster travel times, making travel by bus even more attractive for passengers. The design plus the completely reorganised passenger flows therefore have a positive overall influence on the bus as a transport system.

Corner pillars like a frame, innovative rear lights

The rear end also has a new design, with a basic paint finish in black. The panel on the left echoes the design of the front section. The corner pillars are formed like a frame, and suggest stability. Their lines flow into the panelling on the roof, sidewalls and rear end. The rear lights are likewise new. The strip between the rear lights indicates the driving mode: it lights up in blue during semi-automated driving, and in white during manual operation.

Design and function complement each other perfectly in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, and set new standards in this combination. But as unusual and exciting the design of the city bus may be, it is based on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro in the version with a vertical engine, of which many thousands of examples have proved their worth. The structural skeleton of the bus has remained practically untouched.

Interior: From the passenger compartment to the passenger's dream

Like the exterior, the interior of the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus opens up completely new perspectives on the urban public transport of tomorrow. The passenger compartment of the technology platform forms a contrast to conventional interior layouts. It takes its lead from public spaces such as squares and parks, and has nothing in common with the usual appearance of a city bus. Inside and outside blend together, as the bus also connects to the outside world through its design, and becomes one with it.

Following the low-floor principle throughout, the interior is divided into three zones: At the front near the driver is the "Service" zone, in the middle near the doors the "Express" zone for short distances and mainly standing passengers and rapid passenger flows. At the rear is the "Lounge" zone intended for a longer stay on board.

Despite these different user zones, the entire passenger compartment is open-plan in nature. The floor covering is in scratched white/light blue with sparkling inserts. Visually it resembles an icy surface, also in recognition of the venue for the world premiere. A light strip makes orientation in the interior easier. This changes colour between white (manual mode) and blue (semi-automated mode) depending on the operating status of the bus.

The already generous glazed area is visually enlarged by a black band. At waist level a silver-grey band of fabric meanders along the walls, underlining the cosiness of the interior. All in all the regular service city bus is transformed into an urban living space.

This shift is also emphasised by the seating layout: in contrast to the usual arrangement, the passenger seats are arranged along the walls in asymmetrical groups. This grouping is also reminiscent of a city square or park with benches. The impression gained is one of a structured space with various retreats. The seats are shining white shells with a padded surface and a light-green backrest. Their lines have been inspired by designer chairs. The design idiom combines classic seat contours with zeitgeist influences. People entering this environment feel more like guests than passengers.

Grab rails like trees, lighting like leaves and sunlight from the ceiling

The grab rails for standing passengers are arranged in the centre zone. In the larger standing-room segments of current city buses there is already a trend towards centrally arranged grab rails resembling a trident. The technology platform takes this idea further and combines it with the park-like layout of the interior. The result is triangular, light metallic grab rails extending to ceiling height. These are easy to grip, and branch upwards like trees.

Following the same theme, the ceiling lighting in the form of geometric patterns grouped near the branching grab rails is reminiscent of a leaf canopy. The ceiling itself is divided in terms of materials and colours: on the driver's side it is in matt satin pure white, while on the right side it is lined in light-coloured fabric with a light-green surface pattern. The visual effect is that it brings sunlight into the bus, assisted by the interior lighting. The passenger compartment thus becomes a space where passengers feel comfortable and at ease, a space they enter gladly rather than out of necessity.

Information, entertainment and advertising via large monitors

Apart from its appearance and choice of materials, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus as a technology platform also breaks new ground with respect to information technology and the associated connectivity. Passengers receive information from two 43-inch monitors. These are embedded in an overhead console in the central zone of the passenger compartment.

They allow the bus's progress along the route to be followed, and provide information and entertainment similar to that in an airport waiting area. Whether the latest news, the image from a driver camera or advertising spots – there are no limits to the imagination, and passenger information reaches a totally new level.

Cockpit: Innovative driver area as part of the interior

In the city bus of tomorrow, the driver also takes a seat in the cockpit of tomorrow. The driver's workplace is fundamentally different to that in a conventional 2016 city bus. For example, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus does not compartmentalise its cockpit – the driver area becomes part of the interior, and even manages without a partition and separating door. A certain degree of separation occurs automatically thanks to omission of the front entry door, however.

The cockpit itself is both welcoming and homely. The driver area of the city bus has a continuation of the silver-grey fabric surround that forms a band around the interior. In view of semi-automated driving with a host of automated procedures and actions, the city bus of tomorrow dispenses with the familiar, substantially standardised VDV cockpit. Instead an airy, lightweight instrument panel support is used.

Display with reduced vehicle information and more route-related data

Conventional instruments are replaced by an informative 12.3-inch display with specific information. This has been reduced to the essentials where vehicle functions are concerned, but considerably expanded with regard to route information. At the same time the form of display has been brought to a new level.

The current speed is shown digitally in the centre, and symbolically also the route ahead with the next traffic lights and bus stops, plus the distances to them. The display also reports impending activities – e.g. when an automatic stop is due at a traffic light or bus stop. Tunnel entrances and exits ahead are also displayed. The central instrument also points out vehicles ahead, or any obstacles on the road, and indicates the distance to them.

If the bus is driven in manual mode by a driver, a second speedometer is added as a dial instrument with segments, and the figures in the digital display become larger.

Traffic lights and bus stops in an information display

When there is a traffic light, bus stop, vehicle or obstacle ahead, an information graphic appears on the right of the display. This takes the form of an arc. At traffic lights and bus stops, this uses a countdown with coloured segments and figures in seconds to show the expected time before the journey can continue, that the traffic light has been reached or that the lights will change. By looking at a stylised silhouette of the bus, the driver can also monitor the status of the doors, which is important when halting at a bus stop.

Dial instruments with coloured segments on the left side of the display show the fuel and AdBlue levels and the status of the onboard electrical system. A function bar at the top of the display contains the icons for the ready status of all systems, for example the traffic light recognition system with camera and V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) identification, or the locating system. A second function bar at the bottom of the display informs the driver of e.g. the odometer reading, transmission status and the gear engaged. The control lamps are also located here.

Familiar control buttons moved to the left

The usual control buttons and switches in a conventional city bus are not required when driving semi-autonomously – whether the doors, lighting or windscreen wiper, all are controlled automatically. For this reason the relevant controls have been moved to the left, from the instrument panel to the console below the window sill. This still leaves them readily accessible for manual driving outside enclosed BRT routes.

Thanks to the mirrorcams, the driver no longer has to consult conventional exterior mirrors for a view to the rear. The externally mounted camera systems transfer the image onto large monitors. They are mounted inside, near the A-pillar. Installation at the height familiar from classic mirrors makes it easier for experienced bus drivers to change over to the new technology.

Alternatives to the state-of-the-art diesel engine: gas and electric drive

The drive unit is located on the opposite end of the bus: The
Mercedes-Benz OM 936 in-line six-cylinder engine, probably the world's most modern diesel engine for city buses, is installed on the left in the rear. It develops 220 kW (299 hp), meets the Euro VI emission standard and transfers its power to the driven low-floor portal axle via an automatic torque converter transmission.

This does not have to be the only alternative, however: the new
Mercedes-Benz M 936 G gas engine would also be conceivable. This impresses with even lower emissions than a diesel engine, and even quieter running. But the possibilities by no means end there, as Mercedes-Benz has announced a battery-electric drive system for city buses for 2018. Thanks to the omission of an engine in the rear, this will open up new possibilities for an attractive interior design. But above all, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus will then not only be semi-automated and extremely safe, but also locally emissions-free and as quiet as a whisper as it powers into the future.

Photos and text:
Daimler AG


gedruckt am 31.05.2020 - 23:53