University in Shanghai launches driverless bus service on campus
Updated: 2018-05-10
By Cao Chen in Shanghai (China Daily)

Shanghai Jiao Tong University has launched a trial run of a driverless minibus service on its campus in Shanghai's Xuhui district.

The service, for on-campus commuting, uses an eight-seat vehicle developed jointly by the university's Research Institute of Intelligence Vehicles and a company specializing in automatic driving systems research and production.

Guided by a map stored in the cloud, the bus can pick up passengers and take them to the stop they select by scanning a QR code.

There are currently four stops on the university's Xuhui campus. While on board, passengers can use a touch screen or speak to an interactive voice system to change their destination.

"It's really convenient for us to commute by bus on this expansive campus," said Yuan Wei, a doctoral student.

The three campus buses have carried more than 1,000 passengers safely at a maximum speed of 15 km per hour since May 2, according to Yang Ming, director of the institute. A monthlong test run was carried out earlier on the school's Minhang campus.

"We installed sensors on the bus and used a special positioning and navigation system developed by the institute that can detect everything happening around the bus and manage it intelligently to avoid collisions," Yang said.

"It's unlike driverless vehicles that rely on a real-time satellite positioning system, which can be affected by the surrounding environment and severe weather.

"The bus is also equipped with a core sensor that allows it to work properly even on rainy and snowy days, when people need the vehicle more than in good weather. A recharge of five to six hours can ensure a full day of operation."

To ensure safety during the trial run, a security officer on the bus can press a stop button if needed, even though he usually doesn't have to do anything. An emergency button is also available on the exterior of the bus.

Yang said the cost of developing the driverless vehicles is one-fifth to one-tenth the price of those developed in Europe, which can cost several million yuan.

"The bus is commercial and intelligent, but its system still needs development to operate around cars or other traffic," he said.

Su Yuezeng, Party secretary of the university's electronic information and electrical engineering school, said the bus represents the effort the university made to combine talent training, scientific research and industrialization.

"We will continue with research and the cultivation of talent in the field of low-speed driverless minibuses and logistics systems," Su said.

caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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A passenger steps into a driverless minibus at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Tuesday. The bus is able to pick up passengers and take them to a stop they select by scanning a QR code.Wang Gang / For China Daily

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