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English   Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot
20.07.2016 von admin

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.

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