In yet another step towards sustainable public transport, students at Lovely Professional University (LPU) unveiled India’s first driverless, solar-powered bus at the 106th edition of the prestigious Indian Science Congress, reports the Financial Express.
This bus is expected to enter its commercial sale phase towards the end of 2019.
It took the combined effort of over 300 students from the electrical, mechanical and computer science engineering departments to develop this vehicle with guidance from senior professors at the varsity.
At full charge, the bus can attain a speed up to 30 km per hour, travel a distance of 70 km and carry 10 to 30 people. Besides an electric motor, the bus is also equipped Bluetooth and GPS technology which allows for control within a radius of 10 metres.
Programming the entire bus with wireless signals detected through ultra-sonic and infra-red sensors to make it driverless took students nearly a year.
“The bus is completely pollution free and uses only renewable energy in the form of electric motor and solar power for propulsion. Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication technology has been used to make the bus driverless. The bus also uses GPS and Bluetooth for navigation and could be controlled within a radius of 10 metres. The technology works by using wireless signals detected through ultra-sonic and infra-red sensors,” says the varsity.
The bus has been priced at Rs 6 lakh per unit—a reasonably competitive price.
These vehicles are ideal for navigating large university or office campuses, airports and industrial complexes particularly in cities and towns suffering from high concentration air pollutants. As both the battery and solar-cells power the bus-engine, the running cost is almost negligible.
At the Indian Science Congress, the bus ferried important dignitaries like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior minister and other top officials of the government to the venue.
Can other vehicle manufacturers match the efforts of these varsity students? Only time will tell.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)