Driverless buses for central London?

Self-driving buses in central London could cut deaths and injuries on the capital’s roads by an astonishing 90%, a new study claims.

The study “A 2050 Vision for London” by transport expert and former government transport advisor, Professor David Begg, outlines a vision for London with 10mph zones for traffic near schools and in busy areas such as Oxford Street, the Evening Standard reports.

Speeds for automated buses could be restricted by remote control, while sensors on the vehicle would detect hazards including pedestrians, cyclists and motorbikes, helping to cut the number of road accidents.

Begg said: “Automation will be driven by safety. The big prize with automated cars, buses and taxis are the safety benefits. If everyone were to travel at the speed limit, which could be controlled, you could reduce the number of fatalities by 90% by eliminating human error. The first step is sensors on buses, which are being trialled in the city, to engage the breaks automatically if it’s in close proximity to a pedestrian or cyclist. I expect it to become compulsory for lorries and buses and taxis to be fitted with these sensors.”

Speaking about the proposals in relation to London Mayor Boris Johnson’s vision for an orbital tunnel for London traffic, Begg added: “In 20 years most vehicles will be equipped with automated technology so you could see the orbital tunnel being AV only which would be safer and increase capacity by as much as four times because you are running bumper to bumper. It would change the economics of these tunnels.”

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