Coming soon to Carson City: Self-driving buses | NevadaAppeal.com

Coming soon to Carson City: Self-driving buses

The Associated Press

RENO — A study of autonomous driving technology will use electric buses in Reno, Sparks and Carson City.

Regional Transportation Commission electric buses will be equipped with technology to collect data on pedestrians, bikers, vehicles and traffic lights, the Reno-Gazette Journal reported.

The University of Nevada, Reno is collaborating with the commission and other groups on the Intelligent Mobility research.

“If you told me 10 years ago we would be talking about this kind of technology, I would have said it was a 100 years off,” said Richard Kelley, chief engineer in the university’s Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center. “There have been so many astounding advances in this field.”

Commuters increasingly want to avoid distractions, and they want to be riders to that they can focus on other tasks, said David Jickling, the commission’s Director of Public Transportation and Operations.

“This collaboration with the university and other partners on developing safety features with an ultimate goal of perhaps being autonomous with our buses seemed like a natural step for the RTC to get involved with,” Jickling said.

Sensors will be installed on the first bus in the spring. The bus runs from downtown Reno to the university.

“This will be one of the few living labs in the world where you are actually working in a city environment, not a highway,” said Mridul Gautam, university vice president.

Research buses will still have drivers.