Goodbye Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Hello, Luxury Bus?
The arrival of driverless electric buses in London may seem a distant one — at most only a couple of years away, according to figures released today by London-based think-tank Transport for London (TfL).
But as the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, prepares to unveil bus plans that could see the new fleet take to the skies as soon as November, TfL is already warning us that more change is on the way — an electric bus revolution that could affect both the city’s drivers and its residents.
“We’re not expecting to arrive at driverless buses in London before 2021. But when we do, we’ll be on the same day the first driverless bus was introduced to China,” TfL’s director of public transport, Richard Millett, told the Guardian.
Millet added that the mayor’s proposals will “put some pressure on the council” to consider whether the cost of driverless buses would be justified by the increase in safety and security.
The news is further evidence of a revolution in the electric bus industry, with new products from Chinese technology giants such as Daimler and BYD entering the market while a number of US and European operators are looking at adopting alternative, technology-heavy fleets. (The London mayor’s plan to replace private transport companies has been described as “an interesting experiment” to test the impact of driverless cars on public transport.)
It all adds up to a transport revolution with the potential to fundamentally transform how we travel in London and what we value about it, making this the first big wave of mobility that is likely to be driven not by private car ownership but by a host of new technologies.
“The technology is changing so dramatically it’s hard to keep up,�