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Autonomous cars Trials with driverless buses to be extended

A first trial with automated passenger buses in Sion runs out in October. A decision to stop or continue the project is due soon

(Keystone)

Swiss Post says it plans to extend trials with self-driving buses following a survey about the attitude of the public towards autonomous vehicles for passenger transport.

The polling of 400 people in four cities and towns in different parts of the country found that 51% of the respondents had no or very minor concerns about safety.

PostBus, a subsidiary company of the state-owned Swiss Post, says the detailed results of the survey show that “people who have travelled with SmartShuttles are significantly more positive about self-driving buses”.

Pioneering the tests was the town of Sion in French-speaking southwestern Switzerland, where more than 25,000 passengers used a driverless shuttle service over 12 months.

The survey, conducted between April and June this year, is the first study of the acceptance of driverless vehicles in Switzerland.

International comparison

The Swiss data compares favourably with a 2014 international study, according to the authors of the survey, commissioned by PostBus. It found that safety concerns are particularly high in China with 87%, the United States (78%), India (77%) and Japan (75%).

Apart from the trials in Sion and at special events around the country, PostBus is also extending the shuttle service to a closed test area in a district of the Swiss capital, Bern, in a bid to gather more experience with digitalised mobility solutions.

The Swiss transport ministry is preparing proposals for a possible legal amendment to pave the way for the regular use of driverless vehicles on Swiss roads. A working group is due to present its findings later this year.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug


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