Public acceptance for self-driving buses

People in the canton of Schaffhausen seem to like the self-driving bus that is being piloted in the region, according to a survey. There are now plans to extend Route 12 to the Rhine Falls and continue the trial into the winter.

Swiss Transit Lab buses
(Image credit: Swiss Transit Lab)

Since March, passengers travelling on Route 12 between central Neuhausen and Industrieplatz have been collected by an autonomous bus. Acceptance for the scheme is high, according to the interim report “Public Opinion on Route 12” published by the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP) at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH).

For the survey, the researchers polled 1,408 people in Neuhausen, Stein am Rhein and Thayngen and found that Neuhausen’s population in particular is well-informed about the test run. Around 55 per cent of the participants in the three places are pro pilot tests in Switzerland, while only 20 per cent are against. Other results revealed that a majority is fascinated by autonomous vehicles and believe that more research would be sensible as well as necessary.  

Those surveyed are not without their worries, however. 60 per cent are concerned or very concerned about how a self-driving vehicle would react in unforeseen situations or with pedestrians and cyclists. Yet differences in opinion were largely determined by age, education and gender. People older than 40 and women were more worried than others about potential job losses caused by autonomous vehicles, while those with a university education were less concerned and worried about loss of control.  

According to a statement from the Swiss Transit Lab, more than 11,000 passengers have travelled with the self-driving bus in Schaffhausen since March. There are now plans to extend the route to the Rhine Falls from October and to continue the trial into the winter. Following completion of the two-year pilot, the autonomous vehicle will be incorporated into regular operation.  

The Swiss Transit Lab is an initiative of the Verkehrsbetriebe Schaffhausen, the globally active systems supplier Trapeze and its spin-off AMoTech​, and the Regional Development arm of the canton of Schaffhausen’s Economic Promotion.

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