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Quietly driving into the future: MSU plans to deploy new autonomous bus in fall

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jun 05, 2024
  • Video shows interviews with MSU's Mobility Director, and Product Management Director of automated driving software company, ADASTEC.
  • Michigan State University is steering students into the future, debuting a fully-electric and autonomous bus on campus.
  • “There’s a passenger screen that you can see what’s going on, what is the next stop, you can see the destination sign. There will also be an automatic wheelchair securing system," said Product Management Director of ADASTEC, Cemre Kavvasoglu.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

If you've traveled across MSU's campus, you're probably no stranger to taking the bus.

Come this fall, MSU is taking that transportation to a whole new level — no sound, and no driver.

Michigan State University is steering students into the future debuting a fully- electric and autonomous bus on campus.

"The first full-size automated transit-vehicle in the United States," said MSU Mobility Director, Judd Herzer.

The bus will serve as both a mode of transportation across campus, and a research platform, "We can test things like cyber-security and communications between the vehicle and the infrastructure, the vehicle and other vehicles, and other forms of mobility that are here on campus," explained Herzer.

MSU collaborated with automated driving software company, ADASTEC, in the making of the new bus.

I spoke with Product Management Director ADASTEC, Cemre Kavvasoglu, who says the autonomous software serves as the brains behind the bus, but the ride itself is designed to replicate standard public transportation, "There's a passenger screen that you can see what's going on, what is the next stop, you can see the destination sign. There will also be an automatic wheelchair securing system," described Kavvasoglu.

In an effort to air on the side of caution in case of an emergency, "We still have a safety driver on board," reiterated Kavvasoglu.

For students looking to try out the ride this fall, you can expect to be able to take your normal routes.

"It will use the same CATA bus stops to pick up and drop off passengers," said Kavvasoglu.

As of now, the bus is set to deploy on campus beginning fall semester with the name of it currently being finalized.

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