This is the bus that (almost) goes alone

Looks more like a set disaster movie than a new neighborhood that aspires to house thousands of people. Is about Barkarbydistrict of the Jarfalla city scarcely 20 kilometers from Stockholm, in Sweden. Deserted streets, new or half built buildings. Immaculate sidewalks, the mall, the bus station, the coffee shop. A bedroom town ideal for those who, as in Barcelona and its metropolitan environment, can no longer afford to live in the capital. But Barkarby is also test tube of the future of mobility. A walk is enough to identify the protagonists; is about three autonomous buseswith a futuristic look, that work on demand and that are a waste of technology and good intention. All very futuristic, but they carry a human being inside. Just in case. And because the law still does not allow a transport vehicle to go alone around the world.

It could be said that these vehicles, managed by the Nobina company, also responsible for much of Stockholm’s bus network, always make the right choice. Because they have sensors everywhere and because they have marked the path to fire in your ‘hardware’. It has space for 12 passengers and it is important to sit or hold on very well. “A German journalist fell to the ground,” says the watchman. It won’t be that bad… But it is. As soon as something gets in his way, he braking is dry, without moderation, to the rough. It’s not like he’s going very fast either (about 20 kilometers per hour), but he stops suddenly. And of course, inertia does its thing. On this occasion it has been a Catalan journalist who has gone flying. No damage.


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That a controller goes on board has a double objective. On the one hand, the vehicle does not have the enough autonomy to avoid a car stopped in your lane. The clerk catches a ‘joystick‘ and take command until the obstacle is overcome. On the other hand, because the legislation does not yet allow a shared vehicle to move autonomously. the little bus works on demand and the neighbors can request a stop virtual through a mobile app. After four years, and without a single accident, the promoters hope that the authorities modify the regulations and can save the worker. Goosebumps just thinking how something like this would fit the combative TMB squad.

The range of these buses is growing at the rate that the district does, which continues to spread on all four sides. The usual thing is that he transfers citizens from the bus station to his house, especially people with reduced mobility. The terminal, by the way, connects in six minutes with the train that from Järfälla leads to the center of Stockholm in about 20 minutes. At the moment, although it seems the sea of integrated into the neighborhoodis not more than one anecdotal initiative. But this is how, from scratch, how projects are created to change the habits of the human condition. Like mobility.

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