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The Future Of Autonomous Electric Buses In Hong Kong Appears Quite Fuzzy

At present, getting approval to launch automotive electric buses in Hong Kong district appears to be quite difficult. The in-charge of West Kowloon Cultural District, where the driverless mini-buses have been testing over the route of 1 Kilometer, has said that the automotive technology used in the buses is not mature enough.

The shuttle services trials of the buses are continued to be conducted throughout the region by the Year 2023. However, CEO of the district authority and in-charge of the region’s development, Duncan Pescod has uttered several uncertainties concerning the buses, which were manufactured by French enterprise, Navya.

Even, many columnists have argued over this shuttle launch that this would let down the district’s assurance to be a pedestrian-friendly region.

Zimmerman, the organizer of Hong Kong’s urban design planning group, portrayed the autonomous bus in the district as a “beeping monster”, talking about an anti-collision system installed in the bus that detects objects on its way and immediately activates braking system.

The autonomous bus took around 15 minutes to complete the journey including halt at three bus stops, and the average speed was nearly 8km/h, which is equivalent to the speed of an adult jogger. During the journey, bus chimed twice while approaching to a halt immediately, which gave a jerk to the passengers each time.

A social worker Kay Ching Kit, who took a test ride on the bus, kept his views by saying that Hong Kong needs more time to better adapt the latest technologies that are being used in the autonomous electric cars.

There are several practical issues noticed during the trials, which can be resolved by separating the route for pedestrians and autonomous vehicles. Zimmerman said that by using this approach the promise of maintaining the district as a pedestrian-only zone would be conserved.