Canadian Underwriter

CityMobil2 sends driverless buses to Greek town

October 13, 2015   by Staff with files from wire services and

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Automaker CityMobil2 is testing its driverless buses in the real traffic conditions of Trikala, a small town in northern Greece.

The buses have driven in controlled conditions in La Rochelle, France; Lausanne, Switzerland; and near Helsinki, Finland. There were no accidents.

The Greek government had to amend its laws to allow the testing and the city had to build a dedicated bus lane that took up downtown parking spaces.

“There were cities bidding for this project all over Europe. They offered relatively restricted urban areas. But we said we could make it happen in a downtown environment and we won,” said Odisseas Raptis, who heads the city’s digital project department, e-Trikala. “We have a 2.4-kilometre route, the bus route. It’s mixed with traffic, with pedestrians, with bicycles, with cars … That hasn’t been done before.”

The buses max out at 20 km/h, and drivers in the control centrse are on hand to override the automated system if any problems arise.

The buses are currently running without passengers. Full testing will start later this month when a fiber-optic network allowing faster data transmission is completed. Six battery-powered vehicles will eventually be used in Trikala.

Zurich has been appointed insurance associate for the project.

“On-board sensors (telematics) and SDVs could be disruptive for some parts of society,” Domenico Savarese, global head of telematics and proposition development at Zurich, said in a statement, “but, at the same time, we expect that they will have a dramatically positive impact in saving lives, reducing accidents and injuries, and increasing productivity, as well as benefiting the environment and road infrastructure.

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.