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MSU to test autonomous bus on campus

Bus part of larger pilot program testing self-driving technology
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 6:35 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A self-driving bus will soon be taking students across Michigan State University’s campus.

MSU is testing an all-electric bus to see how it does in a real-world setting.

The university and students said not worried about their safety with this bus on the roads on campus.

“The goal is to get this to a place of safety where we will actually be happier to have these vehicles on campus than having you and me driving,” said MSU President Samuel Stanley.

The bus is part of a pilot program testing the technology used in autonomous vehicles.

“It’s a very practical application. Can showcase tremendous work that’s going on at MSU and other universities to allow this kind of autonomous vehicles to be developed,” said Stanley.

The bus will travel 2.5 miles down Farm Lane, connecting the commuter lot to the auditorium, which offers different types of driving environments from rural to urban.

With students walking on campus, the idea of an autonomous vehicle could worry some people, but some students aren’t worried.

“On my first bus rides, one of the students did walk in front of the bus. However, our bus stopped,” said Tabby Basha. “People on the bus were safe. It wasn’t a hard stop.”

The bus will have a driver at all times who can take over in case something goes wrong.

Basha said she doesn’t see that happening very often.

“Looking at the technology that’s in this bus and seeing how the bus visualizes all the different people and vehicles, it’s completely safe,” Basha said.

The goal is to have this bus on campus in the spring semester.

MSU will be collecting data from the bus and analyzing it so it can help make improvements.

The bus is expected to go all day on a single charge.

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