Seoul City announced on Monday that it would launch a pilot test of self-driving electric shuttle bus on the road along Cheongyecheon.
The bus is an eight-seater car, planned and manufactured to be used for public transportation. The vehicle has wide glasses on the ceiling and sides up from the people’s waist to give more openness to the passenger. The bus also offers USB port and screen in each seat so the passengers can charge their mobile phones at their convenience.
The pilot test will be carried out until the end of September with three buses, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at 15-20 minutes intervals, not available on Sundays. The route is from Cheonggye Plaza to Sewoon Shopping Center. Seoul City announced that the bus’s operation info would be available in the smartphone app TAP!, designed for self-driving car info, when the operation starts next month. The route will be extended to Cheonggye 5 ga by the end of the year. The bus is available free of charge.
A safety agent will stand by on each bus to respond to emergencies. A source from the Seoul city government explained that “the Cheonggye area has narrow streets, and sometimes a motorcycle or a pedestrian can suddenly jump into the road, so the safety agent will be there to take control of the bus in case of an emergency.”
Pressure and light-detecting sensors are also installed in the bus door to ensure nothing is stuck between the doors. “The self-driving bus running in a famous sight-seeing spot of Chenggyecheon will attract many attentions,” said Baek Ho, the head of the Seoul City Transportation department. “The government will provide continuous efforts so the people in Seoul city can enjoy the first-hand experience of self-driving technology.”