Israel Launches Self-Driving Public Bus Pilot Program

“We are among the first to bring together autonomous vehicle technology and public transport”

Israel has launched a two-year pilot program under which four companies will operate self-driving public buses to decongest the roads, the country’s Innovation Authority said.

The Authority, along with the Ministry of Transportation and Ayalon Highways, has chosen four groups – including Egged, Israel’s largest bus operator – to start running self-driving buses on public roads.

The pilot project, with a total cost of 17 million euros, will be half financed by the government. It will be carried out in two stages in order to examine the viability of integrating autonomous vehicles into the Israeli public transport system.

During the first phase, the companies will launch self-driving pilot buses within closed areas in order to validate the technological, regulatory, security and commercial feasibility of the project.

Yonatan Sindel/Flash90Bus in downtown Jerusalem

In the second phase, an autonomous bus line will be put into circulation on public roads, with a gradual increase in the number of vehicles put into service throughout the two-year pilot period.

The project is the result of a collaboration between Israeli, American, French, Turkish and Norwegian companies.

“We have chosen the most promising proposals and are pleased to be among the first in the world to apply autonomous vehicle technology to public transport,” said Ran Shadmi, director of the National Public Transport Authority.

“There is still a long way to go, but we have no doubt that this initiative has the potential to improve the service and experience of passengers on public transport, while improving levels of safety,” he said. he adds.

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