METRO looks at driverless technology for city buses

HOUSTON – You've probably seen videos of cars maneuvering the roads with no assistance from drivers. Now, METRO wants to apply that very same technology to mass transit as part of the Texas Mobility Summit that kicked off Sunday. 

KPRC Channel 2's Leigh Frillici had a chance to take a ride in the driverless vehicle. She described it as surreal. 

The driverless car, developed in part by Texas A&M and top transportation leaders across the state, gathered at TranStar to take the first spin.

"We already have a map," Texas A&M mechanical engineer professor Sivakumar Rathinam said. "We're on a track, so the sensors of the car -- it computes (and) controls the steering, rate and throttle."

 A&M is also working on platooning technology for trucks, which means a driver is in the first truck and the trucks behind it are driverless.

The technology has already been shown to prove fuel efficiency, and METRO is now looking at the technology for buses.

"Where buses can talk to each other, we can run more buses," METRO CEO Thomas Lambert said. 

The technology holds exciting possibilities for public transportation in Houston.

Why is this cool technology being displayed in Houston? With strong research universities, Texas has been named one of the proving grounds for automated driving technologies.

Download the Click2Houston news app in your app store to stay up-to-date with the latest news while you're on the go.

Sign up for KPRC 2 newsletters to get breaking news, sports, entertainment, contests and more delivered straight to your email inbox.

About the Authors: