Daimler AG has conducted a 20km test of semi-autonomous technology in a Mercedes Benz bus through Amsterdam.

The test saw the ‘Future Bus’ reach speeds of 70km/h using CityPilot technology on a section of the bus rapid transit (BRT) line, with the driver on board monitoring systems but not making any inputs.

Daimler plans to continue using BRT lines to put the CityPilot system into use, although the driver can regain full control of the vehicle or intervene at any time.

The bus detects whether the upcoming route is suitable for CityPilot to control the bus, then the driver is able to activate the system and monitor it accordingly.

If the driver uses the accelerator, brakes or begins steering, control of the vehicle is reverted back to manual.

Dr Wolfgang Bernhard of the Daimler AG board of management says the system which the Future Bus runs on will make bus travel more effective.

“With our Highway Pilot, we showed nearly two years ago that autonomous driving will make long-distance truck transport safer and more efficient,” Bernhard said.

“We are now putting this technology into our city buses with CityPilot.”

While in CityPilot mode, the bus senses traffic lights and surroundings to follow traffic rules and communicates via Wi-Fi with the traffic infrastructure system to confirm the route is efficient.

The bus is equipped with charging stations in the ‘lounge’ section for passengers on long trips, while an ‘express’ section has more standing room and is designed to keep passengers moving while on short trips.

Head of Daimler Bus, Harmut Schick said $293 million AUD is set aside for investment in the brand’s the city bus portfolio.

“In addition to our strong product range, it’s above all our technological competence and innovative strength that make Daimler Buses so successful worldwide. The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot once again demonstrates our leading role in the bus business,” he said.

“We will claim this position also in the future. The advantages of CityPilot for our customers are clear: Our Future Bus operates fuel efficiently and with minimal stress on the engine. That has a positive impact on operating and maintenance costs, vehicle lifetime and availability.”