Las Vegas is the first city in the US which has a totally autonomous bus, which name is Arma and it goes on its first ride on 20 January on public roads. The first thing that came to my mind was that the bus will turn against its passengers somehow because the do not like really old rock-and-roll music and it is going to be a horror story, but it is not a Stephen King novel and everything is going go just fine.
Arma, the electric 12-seat vehicle will spend a two-week trial ferrying passengers along east Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Eighth Street. This route is a few minutes from the Vegas main strip and McCarren International Airport.
The bus is built by Paris-based Navya, the vehicles can drive themselves at up to 27 miles per hour. For the test period this will be limited to just 12mph which is going to be a two-week trial. The buses will be available between 10am and 6pm. They will drive themselves on the public roads without any help from a driver.Riding the bus will be free during the test period. The running cost is $10,000 (£8,100) per month and it will be largely subsidised by adverts both on the exterior and on displays inside. There are local businesses that would like to advertise in and on the bus. And as the Las Vegas Sun reports, some of those businesses are considering paying for extras stop near their offices.
Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow said: “I remember as a young boy watch The Jetsons with the vehicles that operated by themselves. Today, ladies and gentlemen, when you talk about innovation, we are living in the day of The Jetsons.”
The bus uses radar to know where other vehicles and pedestrians are, and uses GPS to navigate. Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman said: “What a wonderful day for all of us to witness this. Being the control freak that I am, I was very nervous to get on this vehicle, but it is clean, has beautiful air and moves sort of swiftly but so beautifully down Fremont East.”
Las Vegas head of community development Jorge Cervantes added: “It’s a matter of fine-tuning the technology to make sure it’s safe. The last thing we want is for something to happen.”