A driverless bus entered service in the streets of Malaga, on the southern coast of Spain, in February. In a three-week trial, it runs on the regularly scheduled Line 90 route from the city’s cruise ship dock on the Mediterranean to the the Paseo del Parque in the front of City Hall in the center. The 12-meter long bus can carry 70 passengers and is the first driverless bus to enter service in Europe.
The bus operates in conjunction with smart traffic lights. It uses a high-precision positioning and guidance system and is connected to a control centre from which specific instructions can be sent to each unit. The buses can be monitored and their itineraries accessed in real time.
The autonomous bus still has a driver onboard as a safety measure and because having a driver onboard is still a legal requirement in Spain. The bus is also environmentally friendly, running fully on electricity and producing zero emissions.
The AutoMOST R + D + I project, funded by the CDTI (Centre for Industrial Technological Development) of the Ministry of Economy of Spain, springs from a partnership between Malaga’s bus operator, Empresa Malagueña de Transportes (EMT), the Avanza bus company and the Malaga City Council. The project also has the participation of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Insia, CEIT-IK4 and the University of Vigo.
For its first three weeks of operations residents can ride the self-driving bus free of charge. It operates from Saturday February 20th to March 13th, from Tuesdays to Saturdays 9:30am to 2:30pm.
The bus developed for this test is the Irizar ie bus model, a 100% zero emissions electric vehicle with dual driving mode, manual mode and automatic mode (autopilot).