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Erica, the first 100% electric, sustainable and driverless bus

Electric bus

Starting in September in eight Catalan municipalities, the effectiveness of the first 100% electric, sustainable bus with autonomous driving will be tested, with the aim of guaranteeing access to clean, balanced and environmentally friendly public transport.

Meet Erica: the first electric driverless bus. We tell you the details of the sustainable public transport of the future.

What is Erica? Sustainable public transport pilot test

I present to you Erica, the first 100% electric driverless bus that can run for up to 14 hours without interruption. We are currently experiencing a change in the culture of mobility. Proof of this is the project that will be launched next September in different Catalan cities.

During the month of September and until October 28, if you see a bus without a driver on the streets of your city, don’t panic. It means that your city is part of the group of municipalities where the pilot tests of the operation of the first 100% electric and driverless bus are carried out. The list of municipalities is as follows: Sant Cugat del Vallès, Terrassa, Sabadell, Girona, Reus, El Vendrell, Martorell and Vic. It is not a world novelty. there are municipalities in the United States and Australia that have already gone through this testing phase. And in France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and China, we find cities that are in the same phase as the aforementioned municipalities.

A curious fact, Erica is called like this because it corresponds to the acronym: electric (100%) revolutionary (implies a change in the culture of mobility) and intelligent, shared and friendly (without a physical driver, nobody cares about driving, and this will improve customer service).

Goals of Erica, the first 100% electric, sustainable and driverless bus

It is a project that seeks to guarantee access to sustainable and balanced public transport. At a time when the need to invest in means to make cities cleaner and more sustainable prevails; municipalities and public admissions are betting on projects similar to Èrica that provide means of transport with almost zero environmental impact.

Also, it should be said that this pilot test is 50% co-financed by the Generalitat and the Association of Municipalities for Mobility and Transport (AMTU) and also by the different municipalities.

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How will the 100% electric and autonomous buses move around the city?

The electric bus will be in each municipality for seven days: two to carry out the tests of the route and another five in which it will transport passengers. Although the vehicle will not have a driver, it will have technical operators who will accompany and advise citizens who want to test the system and who will resolve any doubts or incidents that may arise.

The 100% electric bus will run for a maximum of 500 meters, at a speed of 18 kilometers per hour (the average for public transport is 13) and without stops. Nor will it interact with other vehicles because Spanish law does not allow it yet.

In Spain they are not yet approved, so specific areas have been chosen to carry out the tests. The main feature is that they had good GPS coverage. Keep in mind that it is necessary to map everything, from a pedestrian crossing to a trash can.

Evolution of pilot tests of electric and autonomous buses

If the pilot tests are successful, the 100% electric bus would serve to complement the conventional public transport service. For example, autonomous buses would be very useful to connect industrial estates, university campuses or airports, where there are rush hours, with high demand, and during the rest of the day off-peak hours when few people need to take the bus.

In Spain, autonomous bus tests have been carried out in the San Sebastián technology park, Talavera de la Reina and in the port of Malaga. In Europe, autonomous buses are used as a shuttle in Lyon and cities such as Paris, London, Germany or the Netherlands have also carried out pilot tests.

One of the trends in sustainable mobility is the commitment to the use of autonomous, independent and connected buses that are totally respectful of the environment and offer an impeccable service to the user. Also, they can circulate 14 hours in a row, without the need to charge their battery.

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