Developed by California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways, the buses follow magnetic strips embedded in the road and a computer onboard the bus uses them to guide them along their route.
The drivers still handle acceleration and braking, and can take control of the steering at any time. This system should maximize efficiency and could cut rapid transit costs.
Testing the system in San Leandro, California, a prototype bus maneuvered itself automatically one centimeter from the curb. This could allow buses to run with greater reliability and punctuality, reduce bus only lanes in width, and could lead more people to use rapid transit.
The technology is also relatively cheap, and could save tens of millions of dollars compared to the other major mass transit alternative: adding a light rail system.