Driverless Buses: Future of Transportation


Using the U.S. as a case study, driverless tech could save over $300 billion a year, just from GDP lost due to car crashes. Currently, the U.S. loses a mind-boggling $341 billion to crashes, and GPS predicts that driverless cars would bring that down to just $34 billion. Global positioning specialists have released a table showing how much can be saved from this invention.


To drive at these figures, GPS took already-existing data for the GDP of a country, then applied a simple formula based on the percentage reduction in crashes expected if we adopt autonomous vehicles. The U.S. is at the top of the list only because it loses so much money right now. The next country on the list is India, which "only" wastes $62 billion a year on traffic accidents and their effects, less than a fifth that of the U.S. As a quick reminder, India is home to 1.3 billion people, whereas the U.S. counts just 322 million people. Americans really like their cars—and crashing them.

"You realize how many of these accidents could be avoided with new driverless technology," said GPS boss Lucile Michaut in a statement. "Governments will never spend on investing in things like this unless there is concrete evidence, but here we have proved there are strong economic reasons to invest in driverless technology, as well as the obvious improvement to public safety."

When everything is viewed in terms of return on investment, the cash savings of big projects are more important than their effect on people's quality of life. That's backward of course, but it's the language spoken by many politicians around the world. In the U.S., roughly 33,000 people die annualy in auto crashes (about the same number that die from breast cancer, or gun deaths, or opioid overdoses, three issues politicians spend a lot more time talking about fixing), and 2.2 million are injured. Autonomous cars could keep many of those people alive, or uninjured. And those people, and their families and friends, probably won't be thinking about the financial benefits to their country.



Where does Nigeria Come in?

The obvious suggestion here would be driverless cars, but the truth is there will always be a larger population of people commuting with public transport and it would be of no immediate benefit to further develop the already stable means of transportation. So why not driverless buses? Firstly, this takes miscreants, popularly termed “agbero” off our streets and reduces a great deal of rowdiness at bus terminals and stops. Secondly this helps save time made on every trip; how? While getting onboard passengers program in location, pay in money into a designated slot or swipe a special bus fare credit card and be allowed in; so on arriving entered bus terminals, the bus simply comes to a halt and lets you out; also there would be no need for any official to beckon on new passengers to fill up vacant spaces, as spaces available would be transmitted and displayed on a board at the next stop and people orderly form a queue and swipe their cards till the bus fills and quietly wait for a next available bus.

Lastly, this eases the strain on public transportation users and in turn reduce records of road accidents and simultaneously money budgeted for health care services, treatment and compensation by government for affected families and communities.

The ideas and functions of the yellow buses and BRT can be combined and further developed rather than starting from the scratch.