Via launches first autonomous vehicle service
US mobility technology firm Via has launched its first public autonomous vehicle (AV) service.
Run in partnership with local bus operator Busways, Transport for NSW, and AV technology provider EasyMile, the BusBot service is being run for a community in New South Wales, Australia and marks a milestone for Via.
The service operates in the same way as other shared services run in partnership with Via globally; using the BusBot app, users can hail the autonomous BusBot directly from their smartphone and are then directed to a nearby virtual bus stop for pick up and drop off. However, the service is fully autonomous and is being run as a pilot programme, providing free rides to users over 22 weeks.
“If autonomous vehicles are to reach their full potential for providing low-cost, efficient rides, they need to be shared by multiple passengers,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. “Via’s sophisticated systems are able to power, in real-time, the movement of millions of connected autonomous shuttles and their passengers, and we’re delighted to be working with BusBot to launch this groundbreaking service.”