Swiss Post trials driverless buses

Self driving shuttle buses are being tested on Swiss roads by Swiss Post.

In a statement issued today, Swiss Post said, “The statutory regulations for the use of autonomous vehicles on public roads have not yet been finalized. As a result, special permits are required so that the pilot project can be implemented in the city of Sion. Both the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) and the road traffic department of the canton of Valais have granted approval to PostBus.”

The self driving, electric PostBuses were first unveiled in December and have been used in tests on private land over the last few months. The roll out on public roads will mean that passengers can catch self driving buses for the first time on Swiss roads. The tests will take place in Sion, capital of the Valais canton, and these will run until October next year. The test will be done with two shuttle buses.

These aren’t just driverless buses though. So-called Swiss Post ‘safety drivers’ will be aboard the buses for every journey and they will both be there to prevent anything from going wrong, but also to look after passengers on the bus in a ‘supervisor – driver – conductor’ role. The Vienna Convention on road transport requires a driver to be in a vehicle at all times and until this is amended, international law will prevail on driverless vehicles.

However, should the trial be a success, self-driving vehicles could well be a trend that Swiss Post’s other divisions could follow. Could we see self driving delivery vans on Swiss roads soon with a driver – delivery person there in case the computer goes wrong?