Volvo in world first for autonomous single deck electric bus

Volvo Buses and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have demonstrated the world’s first 12m autonomous electric bus with trials due to begin soon on the NTU campus.

The Volvo 7900 Electric bus has a passenger capacity of 85 and is equipped with sensors and navigation controls that are managed by a comprehensive artificial intelligence system. Volvo insists that the AI system is protected with cyber security measures to prevent unwanted intrusions.

The Volvo bus has already undergone preliminary testing at the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous vehicles (CETRAN).

“Our electric bus featuring autonomous technology represents an important step towards our vision for a cleaner, safer and smarter city,” says Håkan Agnevall, president, Volvo Buses.The journey towards full autonomy is undoubtedly complex, and our partnership with the NTU and LTA is critical in realising this vision, as is our commitment to applying a safety-first approach.”

The bus comes with a Volvo autonomous research software that is connected to key controls and multiple sensors. NTU researchers have enhanced it with an AI system that communicates with sensors, enabling the bus to operate autonomously.

This includes light detection and ranging sensors (LIDARS), 360-degree cameras and an advanced global navigation satellite system that uses real-time kinematics, similar to GPS, but using multiple data sources to give location accuracy up to one centimetre.

The system is hooked-up to an inertial management unit that measures the bus’ lateral and angular rate to improve the navigation when going over uneven terrain, ensuring a smooth ride.

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