Driverless bus straight to your door

London dwellers will be able to summon driverless buses to their front doors and be taken direct to their destinations under a plan unveiled yesterday.

With the sytem, called Personalised Public Transport (PPT), each driverless bus would accommodate a maximum of 24 people but for an extra fee could also be ordered for exclusive use. The vehicles would cruise the streets like cabs but would be summoned by a mobile phone message.

Alan Ponsford, the project leader, said that the system was designed to retain the benefits of a personalised transport service without the congestion and pollution caused by private cars.

The buses would follow magnetic markers in the road and would avoid other vehicles and pedestrians by using obstacle detection and collision avoidance systems. The electrically propelled vehicles would operate at a maximum of 25mph on residential streets but accelerate to 45mph on special lanes along major roads.

The team behind PPT plans to produce two prototype vehicles by 2007. The system would be trialled the following year. Toyota demonstrated a similar driverless public transport system at this year’s World Expo in Aichi, Japan.

Via The Times.