image credit: Wikipedia/Adam E. Moreira
In an attempt to help ease traffic in bus lanes, the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey is looking to test self-driving buses. In a draft resolution posted to its website, the Port Authority said it would seek approval to spend about $5.3 million on a pilot program that would take place over the next year running through May 2021.
Officials hope that the use of autonomous buses would help reduce traffic on the 2.5 mile stretch between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Lincoln Tunnel. Supposedly the AI would not replace drivers but just help buses merge more efficiently and avoid collisions.
“We want to be able to improve the operation of the exclusive bus lane and the capacity of the Lincoln Tunnel in any way that we can,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.
Self-Driving Buses Could Increase Capacity by 30% on Route to NYC
Testing would be done on the exclusive bus lane which leads from the New Jersey Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel. The lane operates weekdays from 6 AM to 10 AM. It currently carries about 1,850 buses during the morning rush hour which makes it the most heavily used highway lane in the country.
The AI tech would allow buses to travel closer together and could increase capacity by 30 percent. This would mean about 200 extra buses and an additional 10,000 commuters. Bus companies who travel the route would have to agree to install the technology on their vehicles.
The two companies chosen for the pilot program are the Southwest Research Institute and Robotic Research LLC who would test the technology on six buses acquired from NJ Transit. According to the report, no passengers will be on the buses during testing. Officials are expected to vote on the proposition in December.
Check out our articles on England’s first autonomous parking testing facility and Hitachi’s train station of the future.