Self-driving electric bus launched at Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, MI – No driver. No gas. No problem.

Michigan State University has launched its self-driving electric bus after months of testing.

The 27-foot, 22-seat bus is one of the largest of its kind on U.S. roads to date, according to a university press release on Tuesday, May 10.

With the bus now officially accepting passengers, MSU is taking another step in its “smart mobility” initiative, which is pushing for clean transport to reduce its carbon footprint.

“Michigan State University is driving the future of mobility and revolutionizing the way people and goods move safely around the world through our expansive efforts in research, traffic management, engineering, public policy and social mobility,” MSU President Samuel Stanley said in a statement. . “We are excited to help our state extend its leadership in mobility with this new addition to our campus.”

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The self-driving bus project is a collaboration between the State of Michigan, bus manufacturer Karsan and Detroit-based automotive software engineering firm ADASTEC. It was introduced in November to launch initiative trials on campus, including more than 650 trials at various times of the day. The bus has been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, officials said.

The wheelchair-accessible bus will begin its trips each weekday at 9 a.m. from MSU Commuter Lot #89, which is at the intersection of Farm Lane and Mt. Hope Road. Once on campus, the bus will run from 9:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Friday.

The 2.5-mile route will run from Suburban Lot Bus Stop #4 to the MSU Auditorium with a goal of a 45-minute continuous round trip, the statement said. For a map of the route, Click here. To learn more about the bus and its schedule, as well as MSU’s mobility initiatives, visit

To ensure safety, a licensed bus driver and an ADASTEC technician are on board at all times to take control if necessary, officials said, adding that the Karsan bus with ADASTEC software incorporates safety equipment, sensor and mapping that allows autonomous driving.

The collaboration between Michigan and the two companies created this “historic milestone,” said Satish Udpa, acting director of MSU Mobility. MSU’s partnership on the project has created an “excellent” test site for the self-driving bus, said Karsan CEO Okan Bas.

“MSU’s connected and diverse campus provides an excellent real-world testing ground in all types of weather to showcase the immense capabilities of Karsan’s autonomous e-ATAK,” he said. “This is an important step towards the future of safe and sustainable mobility.”

MSU engineers will analyze data from bus trips, including how the vehicle accommodates people with disabilities to “inform future design considerations,” the statement said.

“This self-driving electric bus will be a great tool to give MSU students, staff and visitors a glimpse into the future of mobility,” said Trevor Pawl, state mobility director. “We look forward to updates from MSU on lessons learned from this type of public transportation on its connected campus.”

In addition to the electric bus, MSU has committed to expanding its electric vehicle fleet by approximately 370 vehicles over the next decade. This push begins with the purchase of 40 electric vehicles for this summer, including those that service campus infrastructure or transport faculty and staff across Michigan, said Adam Lawver, director of campus services.

Read more: Michigan State University begins transitioning nearly 400 vehicles to electric

The university’s goal is to halve its levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010, which trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and contribute to climate change according to Environmental Protection Agency.

The expansion to electric vehicles is expected to reduce carbon dioxide by 18,945 metric tons less by its 2050 target, according to a statement from MSU. This carbon loss is equivalent to planting more than 312,000 trees, the statement said.

“Transitioning to more electric vehicles in our fleet is one of many steps we are taking to achieve our goals while reducing our carbon footprint for a brighter, greener future for the State of Michigan,” he said. -he declares.

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