Will we see self-driving buses on the new bus rapid transit being built in Pittsburgh?

Just moments into an interview with Vincent Valdes, executive director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (the group that decides how to spend federal transportation dollars, locally) Valdes brought up the idea of autonomous buses along the BRT route…

Stan Caldwell does a lot of research on technology trends in automated vehicles with his Traffic 21 Institute initiative. He works at Carnegie Melon University and invited Channel 11 to the Navlab, where they’ve been doing research on this type of technology since the 80s.

While they’re not testing any automated buses here, CMU is researching what automation would mean for transit.

“The role of the drivers will be elevated because they still have to take care of the duties of the passengers, maintaining safety of passengers and everything around the vehicle but they also will have to manage the technology,” said Caldwell.

Which is some of the concern for bus riders when Jennifer asked them if they’d ride an autonomous bus.