A little piece of history was made today, when an electric, driverless shuttle bus was trialled on public roads for the first time globally – in the agricultural town of Wageningen in the Netherlands.
The bus in question, the WePod, took six passengers back and forth on road stretching 200m alongside the side of a lake, reports Reuters. Though the vehicle moved at just 5 miles per hour, the project’s technical director, Jan Willem van der Wiel, called the moment “a milestone”.
The project is being overseen by Connekt, a group of companies working on sustainable public transport. The group has revealed that the coming months will see the project’s expansion, which will eventually culminate in autonomous public transport along a 4-mile route in the town. An intended full fleet of WePods will be capable of reaching 15mph once fully operational.
It has been further reported that, in April, the Netherlands port of Rotterdam will see the first trial of driverless semi-trucks. The ultimate aim here is that, by 2019, autonomous road trains will be used to transport cargo from the port to various parts of Europe.