Volvo Buses has demonstrated an autonomous bus at a Swedish bus depot, which it says represents an important milestone in the firm’s journey towards safer, cleaner and more efficient public transport. The demonstration, held together with bus operator Keolis, took place at Keolis’ bus depot just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden. During the demonstration, the fully-electric 12m autonomous bus successfully drove itself between the parking bay and several workstations including cleaning, servicing and electric charging, before parking itself in the correct bay – all while carrying passengers. “This marks a very important step in our autonomous journey as we now have successfully shown the commercial benefits an autonomous solution can deliver in a bus depot,” Håkan Agnevall, President of Volvo Buses, told the press. “Autonomous buses in depots bring new benefits such as more efficient traffic flows, higher productivity, less damages and improved safety. The industry-common charging interface OppCharge is ideally suited for autonomous charging, eliminating the need to connect power cables to the bus in the depot.
“The new mobility technology will be more common in 5-10 years. Bringing the new technology into today’s depot business and developing it will not only speed up development, it will improve our performance, ensuring that our passengers benefit over the coming years,” said Jan Kilström, CEO at Keolis in Sweden.
ABB, who also participated in the demonstration, sees opportunities for the future. “ABB is fully committed to building a zero emission future and sustainable public transportation is a vital part of this. We have the products and the solutions to deliver electricity from generation to the point of consumption in a safe, smart and sustainable way. ABB’s high-power electric bus chargers with automated rooftop connection enable the efficient charging of autonomous buses, and we look forward to the future of this transport innovation together with Volvo Buses,” commented Mats Peterson, Local Business Manager for ABB Electrification in Sweden.
“We are still many years away from seeing fully-autonomous buses on public roads, but since bus depots are confined areas with predictable and repetitive traffic flows, we see autonomous buses being used there much sooner,” said Håkan Agnevall. “Working together with Keolis has given us this unique opportunity to test an autonomous bus in real conditions and will help us drive the development of autonomous solutions forward.”