Israel will become one of the first countries to trial autonomous buses as the nation looks at ways to automate mass transport options. The move is being made to reduce traffic congestion while increasing safety and improving service.
Four bus companies have been selected for the initial trials: Egged, Metropolin, Dan and Nateev Express. Naturally, the first trial bus journeys won’t be available for the public to board, with each company tasked with proving the safety, viability, and business feasibility of their autonomous vehicle, which will be conducted on closed roads.
Once approved, the aggressive strategy will see autonomous vehicles make their move to the public road, plying bus lines for a two-year trial period. The goal will be to transition to a fleet of autonomous vehicles that operate without drivers in as little as a few years.
According to The Jerusalem Post, one of the motivators behind the move is to tackle Israel’s lack of manpower, with the nation facing a severe shortage of bus drivers.