New East Digital Archive

Near misses for Tallinn’s driverless buses

3 August 2017

Would you be happy riding a driverless bus through the Estonian capital? On the roads since last week, a pair of small driverless vehicles are marking Estonia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. Although the city authorities report that the buses have not been involved in any “major incidents”, the ride is not for the faint-hearted.

The celebratory buses have been plying the route from the city centre to the Kultuurikatel, a creative hub where the EU Presidency is being based for the six months that Estonia holds it.

While no full-on collisions have occurred, national broadcaster ERR reports that since Saturday’s launch there have been a few near-misses, with the buses on occasion ignoring red lights and failing to give way to the emergency services.

You might wonder, when coming on board, why bother with driverless technology at all? Under local law, there must be a responsible host on hand to explain the technology to passengers. Given that the host rides along too, the driverless aspect of the buses seems something of a gimmick.

If you want to experience a driverless journey in Tallinn, don’t hang about — the buses will only be running until the end of the month!

Source: BBC News