AI in public transport: Russian and foreign experience. Part 1 26.02.2019
AI in public transport: Russian and foreign experience. Part 1

Both citizens of big cities and small boroughs use public transport. Passengers that often use buses, underground, trolleybuses, or trams want to make their trips as comfortable and secure as possible. To reach this goal, municipal transport services adopt AI technologies. The latter help to regulate traffic flows, monitor bus routes, ensure comfortable transportation of passengers to destination points. Read further in the article how artificial intelligence modernizes public transport in Russia and other countries of the world.

Advantages of AI systems for public transport

Today AI technologies help to automate and optimize different processes of the transport system. For instance, AI helps to control traffic lights and reduce road congestions. By analyzing data about traffic load, AI can recommend changing the route. Besides, AI can analyze passenger flow and monitor the state of vehicles.

Different companies develop smart buses equipped with AI systems. Such machines use modern hardware and software that provide enhanced comfort and security for passengers.

When used in the public transport sector, intelligence systems help to:

  • improve passenger service;
  • make journeys safer;
  • optimize routes;
  • reduce the number of car breakdowns;
  • simplify control over passenger flows and monitoring of fleets for carriers.

Another indirect advantage of autonomous cars with AI systems is the fact that usually they are electric meaning that less harmful gases go into the atmosphere.

Autonomous vehicles

According to the World Health Organization, over 1 million people die in car crashes every year. Accidents often happen for the reasons of overspeeding, inattention, and lack of the driving experience.

Autonomous cars equipped with artificial intelligence differ from traditional vehicles by computerized control. Such cars can drive independently choosing the route depending on the road conditions, weather, and time of the day. Driverless vehicles do not get tired and always stay alert. Manufacturers state that they are safe for passengers.

Today smart buses are developed, tested, and trialed in Russia, US, Sweden, and other countries.

Besides, there is autonomous underground transport. Autonomous metro trains that drive without machinists are used in Paris, Istanbul, Dubai, and other cities. In Moscow, there are plans to launch driverless trains at the Koltsevaya metro line in the next five years.

Foreign experience

IBM and Local Motors developed and tested Olli electric bus designed for 12 passengers and controlled by Watson computer system. The vehicle can follow the preset route and the computer system answers passengers’ questions – the smart bus can tell about local sightseeing places and recommend a restaurant.

Autonomous shuttle buses intended for 11 passengers were first tested in Stockholm in 2018. Connected Urban Transport platform developed by Ericsson ensures the operation of the driverless transport. It enables the interaction between the vehicles and smart city systems such as public transport stops, traffic lights, sensors.

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Russian experience

Autonomous electric car called Shuttle designed for 12 passengers was presented in 2016. It was developed by the State Research Center of the Russian Federation NAMI with the support from Yandex and Kamaz. The vehicle is equipped with video surveillance cameras and different sensors and can independently lay the route to the destination point.

In 2019, Cognitive Technologies and PC Transport Systems are planning to launch driverless trams in Moscow. The tram was designed basing on Vityaz-M model and was equipped with the automatic control system. A driver will be present in the cabin ready to take on the control over the vehicle in case a dangerous situation appears on the road.

Automated systems for smart buses

Alongside the development of autonomous buses, different companies produce automated systems that help to organize efficient operation of smart vehicles.

For example, the Russian firm Euromobile developed a complex IT system for public transport. It sends location data of buses to the fleet, records on a video camera and sends to the server everything that is going on inside and on the road. Tire pressure and fuel control systems collect information about the state of the car and sends it to the fleet. A voice autoinformator and a media center inform passengers about stops and the route. In emergencies, ERA-GLONASS system sends location data of the bus to the fleet.

Another project of Euromobile is the automated system called “Auto conductor”. It registers the number of passengers transported by the bus. Video cameras installed inside the bus monitor how many people take on and off the bus. The data is transferred to the central control station.


Artificial intelligence technologies can make journeys safer and more comfortable. When smart buses, trams, and trolleybuses start driving in the streets of all cities, use of public transport may turn into a real pleasure rather than a test for endurance.

AI in public transport: Russian and foreign experience. Part 2

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