Las Vegas and Paris experiment with driverless cars

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Driverless shuttle (© AP Images)
An experimental driverless electric shuttle in Las Vegas (© AP Images)

More cities across the world are experimenting with driverless vehicles on public streets.

Two of the latest to conduct testing are Las Vegas and Paris.

Both cities have used self-driving electric buses to carry passengers on short rides to try out the technology and see how humans react to it.

Las Vegas

Driverless shuttle bus in Las Vegas (© AP Images)
A driverless electric shuttle being tested in Las Vegas (© AP Images)

Las Vegas recently launched the first driverless shuttle bus in the United States.

The driverless bus has no steering wheel or brake pedals. It uses cameras and sensors to avoid other vehicles and people while making its way down city streets.

The 12-passenger bus, from the French company Navya, operated for a two-week period along one of the busiest entertainment areas in Las Vegas. Rides during the shuttle experiment were free.

“The ride was smooth. It’s clean and quiet and seats comfortably,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman after taking a ride.

Driverless bus (NAVYA)
The driverless shuttle can reach speeds up to 40 km/h. (NAVYA)

Several autonomous shuttle buses are expected to be deployed in Las Vegas later in 2017 to transport passengers through main areas of the city.

The estimated cost of the program is about $10,000 per month. Officials say that, while this might seem high, the driverless shuttles could still save the city money. The current yearly cost for a single bus and driver is about $1 million.

Paris

Electric bus in Paris (© AP Images)
The fully electric buses in Paris can carry up to 10 people. (© AP Images)

In Paris, two buses have been transporting passengers across a bridge between two of the city’s busiest rail stations.

The vehicles, built by French company EasyMile, travel in a special safety lane created for the project. The fully electric buses can carry up to 10 people.

The testing in Paris is expected to last three months. If things go well, officials plan to launch more driverless bus lines later in 2017.

Jean-Louis Missika is the deputy mayor of Paris. He told reporters at a recent launch event that autonomous vehicles represent a “revolution” happening in many cities around the world.

He said self-driving technology is set to “change our urban environment and public space in a spectacular fashion over the next 20 years.”