Home NEWS Tech Autonomous Shuttles Inch Around San Ramon’s Bishop Ranch Monday

Autonomous Shuttles Inch Around San Ramon’s Bishop Ranch Monday


Not exactly ready for roles in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, but for followers of autonomous technology it was still interesting to see a pair of upended British phone boxes whining around Bishop Ranch virtually unchaperoned Monday.

The driverless gizmos, preternaturally slow by American standards, are the first passenger shuttles of their kind to be deployed anywhere in the nation – and should be an everyday sight at Bishop Ranch by year’s end.

The mint-from-the-box shuttles have no steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedals and feel their way around with the aid of localization lasers, scanning their environment with on-board sensors aboard to detect obstacles and either stop the vehicle or find a way around the obstruction.

The owners of Bishop Ranch bought the two shuttles, designed in France and built by EasyMile, for about $500,000 – a package that includes the services of EasyMile engineers.

While the shuttles are a first for American riders, EasyMile said they are in use in 14 other countries including France, Finland, Dubai and Australia.


  1. I’m not a strong candidate for riding in one of these. The thought of it makes me as nervous as a cat on I-5. Thanks for sharing…

    • @Pamela – we know people are concerned about the extent of automation and what that will do to the job force but at the same time we’re tempted to run the video of the shuttle bus driver texting while on the job and rear-ending stalled traffic. We’re watching this…

  2. News24/680… lack of operator/control is correct. I like the advances of technology, and the positive effects it has on our society. But I (like a lot of people) feel technology has gone too far. Whatever happened to “on and off?”

  3. Maybe it was the impressionable age at which I first saw the movie Maximum Overdrive, but I too am a skeptic. Not so much in terms of the machines taking over and killing us all, but what automation does to society. It started with ATMs, and then pay-at-the-pump, followed by all manner of ways to go through ones’ day with as little human interaction as possible, all under the guise of “convenience”. Now, we have throngs of people who don’t know how to act around one another.

    I enjoy saying “Hi, how are you today?” and “thanks!” to a bus driver. I find it sad that simply asking a clerk at a store how they are doing takes them by complete surprise.

  4. One more. Do you think it feels regret when it crosses over a curb and enters 3 lanes of traffic because of a solar flare? A curb, a toddler…what’s the difference?

  5. I could see these being used in a large parking lot were a lot of walking was expected, maybe an airport? It would also be good for seniors.

  6. I think these “buses” are for short distances across business parks, etc. You wouldn’t ride a traditional bus to go say one mile to get lunch or do shopping but you might ride one of these little things (if walking isn’t your deal). And it could be social if you use them with a friend…just like walking. My view is that the sole purpose of these contraptions is to get wallets to the cash registers.

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