The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), along with various partners, is testing out self-driving buses that could carry commuters on state roads.
Minnesota transit leaders introduced the autonomous shuttle bus to the media at MnDOT’s road research center in Monticello. Throughout the winter, the vehicle will go through a series of winter weather road condition tests. The closed-loop facility is not open to other traffic so the driverless bus will not be near other drivers, but it does allow it to be exposed to a variety of challenging road conditions, like salt and snow-covered roads.
MnDOT believes autonomous buses cut traffic and fuel demand, and are safer than a normal car.
Similar test runs of the self-driving bus are expected to continue throughout the state through at least April of next year. There’s no immediate timeline for what the next step would be.