As ever if this has been covered already sorry.
I had one of my very rare bus rides yesterday and it struck me that, with one important caveat, buses are a far more logical introduction point for level 5 autonomy than cars.
- buses have a expensive professional driver so there is an actual cash benefit from going driverless. A bus running from 7 am to 11 pm needs 2.5 drivers to cover the schedule.at a 40 hour week. In the UK that is about £100k per year with pension, social security etc.
- A bus costs around £200K versus a car at £20K so the cost of the on- board sensors and computers is a smaller penalty than the car.
- Level 5 seem s to be moving towards using intensely detailed location data to aid the sensors in decision making and as buses travel a few fixed routes such data will be much smaller than needed in car which may use many different routes each day.
The caveat is the level of R+D funding available for buses vs cars. Bus builders don't have billions to spend like the big auto and internet companies. Of course for Mercedes Benz that might not be true as they make both lots of cars and lots of buses.