Volvo Buses



Autonomous buses

The vision of self-driving buses

The first step towards self-driving buses is the introduction of automated functions such as driver assistance systems, safety features, and battery charging. Volvo is already running successful full-scale field trials with autonomous driving in controlled environments. But even if the technology for self-driving buses is already here, there are many other aspects to consider as artificial intelligence takes over vehicle control and decisionmaking. When the world is ready, Volvo will be ready too.

Unique study shows passengers are positive about self-driving buses

Volvo Buses, together with Västtrafik and Chalmers University of Technology, has investigated how passengers feel about traveling on a self-driving bus and how they believe autonomous solutions will affect future commuting. The study is the first to be conducted with a 12-meter bus for city traffic.

“Who dares to ride a self-driving bus?”

Exciting, safe and comfortable. This is how passengers describe commuting on a self-driving bus. Their feedback provides important insights into the transport system of the future. 

Test of autonomous driver support system

At Volvo Buses, we're testing the driver support system of the future. In partnership with The Chalmers University of Technology, we've studied bus drivers’ reactions to an autonomous driver support system, to find out what the study involved, how it was undertaken and the results we discovered.

How do drivers experience autonomous docking?

As part of our study in partnership with The Chalmers University of Technology, we asked our drivers to explain how they felt about working alongside an autonomous driver support system, and what benefits they felt it brought them, including improved safety, passenger comfort, and a better working environment.

The Singapore autonomous electric bus field trial

In Singapore, Volvo Buses and Nanyang Technological University have conducted a field trial with the world’s first full-size autonomous electric bus. The Volvo 7900 Electric bus is equipped with numerous sensors and navigation controls managed by a comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) system included in the Volvo Autonomous Research Platform. The project is a cooperative venture with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), to develop and conduct autonomous vehicle bus trials for fixed-route and scheduled services.

Automation in bus depots

Autonomous driving in depots will be one of the first commercially available applications of automation. Moving buses between washing, charging and parking can be handled with perfect precision virtually without human intervention. Volvo and transport operator Keolis demonstrated the possibilities at a real-life event in west Sweden, where a Volvo 7900 Electric automatically roamed the premises.

Roadmap towards self-driving buses

Autonomous buses in everyday traffic are still a thing of the future, but Volvo will be more than ready once driverless traffic is allowed. We are at the forefront, conducting our own research and working together with  academies.

Automated driver support systems

Already today there are several automated functions helping the driver to drive more safely and with fewer distractions. Systems for lane keeping and collision warning are fundamental features. These systems will be further developed and become more capable but they still require interaction with, and actions by, a driver.

Autonomous buses in confined areas

Today’s sensor technology allows for controlled and precise driverless progress. With connected functions, driverless vehicles can also interact with each other according to pre-defined algorithms. In confined areas such as depots or charging stations all the relevant parameters are known, and the buses can move around safely without human intervention.

Autonomous buses in traffic

For autonomous driving, the step from confined areas to everyday city traffic is huge and getting there will require careful implementation. One likely initial application is Bus Rapid Transit, where the buses have dedicated lanes free from other road users. With fewer parameters for the automated systems to handle, BRT will be an important real-life validation arena for autonomous driving.

Milestone self-driving bus technologies

Autonomous driving requires technologies of different kinds. Smart algorithms, reliable sensors, superfast data communication and fail-proof mechanical subsystems are just a few examples. Volvo continuously develops and deploys functions and features that will become part of future systems for autonomous driving.

Volvo Autonomous Research Platform

The Volvo Autonomous Research Platform is a software cluster, processing data from navigation system and multiple sensors. This includes light detection and ranging sensors (LIDARS), stereo-vision cameras that capture images in 3D, and an advanced high-precision global satellite navigation system that also uses real-time kinematics.The Volvo Autonomous Research Platform is a software cluster, processing data from navigation system and multiple sensors. This includes light detection and ranging sensors (LIDARS), stereo-vision cameras that capture images in 3D, and an advanced high-precision global satellite navigation system that also uses real-time kinematics.

Protecting vulnerable road users

City buses share the road space with cars, trucks, and other buses, but also with pedestrians, cyclists and e-scooters, randomly moving around the bus. This is why we continue to develop smart sensors that are able to scan the surroundings in daylight as well as in total darkness. The result is safety features that can detect possible dangers and help the driver to avoid incidents.

Volvo Dynamic Steering

Volvo Dynamic Steering, VDS, is essentially an advanced form of power steering designed to improve the ease, comfort and precision of driving. But it is also an electro-mechanical component capable of steering the bus when fed with data from an autonomous driving system. VDS’s core components include an electric motor, a hydraulic steering gear, a control unit and a range of sensors.

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